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Stainless Steel News and Nickel Prices

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Daily Nickel Market News & Stainless Steel Prices

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Thursday, December 31

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - next report Jan 4th (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Rusal to Raise as Much as $2.6 Billion in Share Sale on Hong Kong Exchange // Singapore's Economy Shrank 2.1% in 2009, First Contraction in Eight Years // Vietnam's Growth Accelerates to 6.9% on Consumer Spending, Construction // India's Stocks Post Biggest Annual Advance in 18 Years on Growth Outlook // Asian Stocks Post Best Year Since 2003 as China Economy Fuels Growth Hopes // Turkish Bond Yields Drop Most Since 2004 as Erdogan Says IMF Deal is Close // Iceland Approves Loan Guarantee to Repay Depositors in Failed Landsbanki // House Values in Britain Rose in December for Eighth Month, Nationwide Says // U.S. Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Decline to Lowest Level Since July 2008 // Dollar Declines Against Euro on Speculation This Month's Rally Overdone // GM Extends Deadline for Saab Offers Until Jan. 7 as Spyker Seeks Financing // U.S. Auto Sales Show `Slow Slog' of December Recovery as Ford Gains Ground // Treasuries Head for Worst Performance Among G-7 as U.S. Sells Record Debt // Leveraged-Loan Index Jumps Record 52% as `Cheap Money' Spurs 2009 Recovery // Stocks in U.S. Retreat to Trim S&P 500's Biggest Annual Rally in Six Years
  • The Euro has retreated off earlier highs and is now trading lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 8/10 of 1% and just under $80/barrel. Gold is up 4/10 of 1% while silver is over 8/10 of 1% higher. Base metals ended the abbreviated trading session mixed, but most moved into positive territory late. Indicator charts show nickel fell early, regained, then fell once again, only to regain much of lost territory in after trading hours. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.40/lb , but regained much of the loss after hours in LME select trading. Nickel gained 58% on the year according to Reuters. When looking at daily nickel inventory numbers, it was one of those daily numbers that made your eyes open a little wider. Inventories of nickel rose by over 4000 tonnes overnight, to end the year at a staggering 158,010 tonnes. They ended 2008 at 78,390 tonnes, and more than doubled for the year. London markets are closed Friday for New Years so we will be back on Monday for a new day, week and year. We hope you all have a enjoyable and safe extended weekend, and sincerely hope that each of you has a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year!!

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (WSJ) As the first decade of the 21st century comes to a close, the Census Bureau projects that on Jan. 1, 2010, the total U.S. population will be 308,400,408. This would represent an increase of 2,606,181, or 0.9%, from New Year’s Day 2009. In January 2010, one birth is expected to occur every eight seconds in the United States and one death every 12 seconds.
  • Mortgage Bond Rally May End, Rates Rise as Fed Stops Purchases - more
  • U.S. Economic Disaster Worse Than Weimar or Zimbabwe - more
  • United States Debt Ridden Road to Perdition - more
  • Zhou Says 2010 Is Crucial Year for ‘Defeating’ Crisis - more
  • What’s a Bailed-Out Banker Really Worth?  - more
  • The Worst May Not Be Over for Europe - more
  • Wall Street's bonus baby steps - more
  • Special Report: America's route to recovery - more

  Rusal Plans to Raise as Much as $2.6 Billion in IPO - United Co. Rusal Ltd. plans to raise as much as HK$20.1 billion ($2.6 billion) in a Hong Kong initial public offering, paving the way for the world’s largest aluminum producer to pare $14.9 billion of debt. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.16/lb lower, with other base metals mixed and quiet. The Euro is trading over 4/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar this morning. NYMEX crude is slightly higher and looks like it will close the year over $79/barrel. Gold is up over 1% this morning, while silver is higher by 1-1/3%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 1-2/3%. European markets are slightly higher at the moment, and US futures show Wall Street wants to end the year with a positive day. Nickel inventories ended a year of large gains, with the second biggest one day increase of the year, up over 4000 tonnes in one day. The London Metal Exchange will be closed tomorrow for New Year's celebration.  
  • Reuters morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper pushed to new 16-month highs on Wednesday as did zinc, but other metals did not follow suit and finished mixed. A much higher-than-expected December Chicago PMI figure out of the US, (up to four-year highs), continued uncertainty about strike threats in Chile, and generally thin market conditions, (which only exaggerated the little buying there was), all contributed to the stronger tone. ... In other markets, the dollar is weaker against the Euro, (now at 1.44), and has helped the stronger tone we are seeing in both metals and energy today. There is not much new in terms of macro news apart from weekly initial claims data due out later.  ... Nickel is at $18,650, down $250, and quiet. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s stainless steel mills, including Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) and Tang Eng, have increased their stainless steel prices for next January, driven by sharp rise by US$2,500/ton of LME nickel price within a half month. The price of stainless steel 300 series is going to up by nearly US$100/ton for domestic market and US$150~200/ton for export market.
  • (Interfax) China's molybdenum imports, including that of molybdenum concentrate and molybdenum oxide, are expected to fall back to around 10,000 tons, measured by metal content, compared to the 35,000 tons recorded in 2009, due to recovering international molybdenum prices, an analyst told Interfax on Dec. 31.
  • (SG) A major producer in Turkey reported to Asian Metal that now chrome ore market is bullish, as they received many enquiries from Chinese buyers recently. According to the source, he signed contracts with the total quantity of 80,000 tonnes and their price range for lumpy chrome ore 40% to 42% was between USD 315 and USD 325 per tonne CFR China.
  • (SG) Asian Metal report that currently Chinese ferrochrome market remains at a high price level, and many suppliers are optimistic towards the ferrochrome market in January. Some suppliers even offer above CNY 8,000 per tonne delivered for high carbon ferrochrome 50%.
  • (ATA) The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.7 percent in November, following a 0.2 percent contraction in October.
    (CCR) China’s total power generation in November of this year increased 26.9 percent from the same period of last year and up 9.8 percentages from October, according to the report released by Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on Tuesday.
  • China protests US duties on oil pipe imports - more
  • China hits back at US steel pipe decision - more

  Technical view of nickel in 2010 - Global primary nickel usage (consumption) was 1.29 Mt in 2008 and forecast to decline to 1.21 Mt in 2009. For 2010 a recovery to 1.35Mt is envisaged. - more

  Mines under spotlight - More and more mining companies are coming under the spotlight as the Mining Inspectorate gets tough to ensure our Mining (Safety) Act and Regulations are complied with. So far operations have been suspended in mining companies which have cost the companies millions of kina in lost revenue. - more

  Commodities Heading for Best Year Since 1970 on Chinese Demand - Commodities headed for their best year since at least 1970, led by a doubling in copper, sugar and lead prices, as Chinese demand compensated for the steepest slump in the global economy since World War II. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • News story: the strike - The Sudbury Star's choices for top news story and newsmaker went in very different directions this year. The Star has named the strike by more than 3,000 Local 6500 Steelworkers at Vale Inco as the top news story for 2009, while Sam Bruno, who successfully campaigned for government funding for PET scans, is our top newsmaker. - more

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • Iron Ore Jumps Most in 5 Months on Indian Tax Concern - The cash price for iron ore delivered to China, the world’s biggest buyer, rose the most in more than five months on concern exports from India will slow, boosting expectations for producers in annual price talks. - more
  • China on the front foot in iron ore price negotiations - Australia's iron ore giants face another pitched battle with China's aggressive steel sector as they begin discussions that could see prices rise by up to 30 per cent for 2010. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, December 30

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - next report Jan 4th (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Japan Air Falls to a Record Low in Tokyo on Report Banks Oppose Bankruptcy // Kumho Sells Daewoo Engineering Stake to KDB for $2.5 Billion to Cut Debt // Stocks Decline Worldwide, Led by Commodity Companies; Loonie, Aussie Drop  // Dollar Advances Versus Euro, at Two-Month High Against Yen on Fed Outlook // European Lending Declined for Third Month in November as Banks Held Back // Global Credit Market Shrank for First Time Since At Least '94, Mizuho Says // Russia Unbeatable for Emerging Market Funds as Kudrin Says Stocks Too High // Europe's Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Drops, Paring Biggest Yearly Gain Since 1999 // M&A Rebound May Be Years Away as Morgan Stanley Predicts `Gentle Recovery' // GMAC Said to Discuss Getting More Than $3 Billion in Extra Government Aid // PG&E Customer Revolt Over Meters May Slow Deployment of Obama's Smart Grid // U.S. Companies Expand by Most Since 2006 in Sign Recovery Is Gaining Speed // Pessimism Declines to 1987 Levels as Stocks Rally Sends Bears Into Hiding // Most U.S. Stocks Fall, Trimming S&P 500's Biggest Yearly Gain Since 2003
  • The US Dollar is trading more than 1/10 of 1% higher against the Euro, but off session highs. NYMEX crude futures are trading nearly 9/10 of 1% higher and over $79.50/barrel. Gold is down 1/3 of 1% while silver is down 1-2/3%. Base metals ended mixed with copper leading the gainers and nickel leading the losers. Indicator charts show nickel fell early and did little afterwards. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.56/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose by over 1000 tonnes overnight, and now rest shy of the 154,000 tonne level. On this day one year ago today, inventory numbers stood at 77,922 tonnes and the price closed at $5.30/lb. LME stores have risen to just shy of double that amount in a years time, while the trading price is presently around 40% higher. Most of the credit for this unusual twist to the old fundamentals picture is China consumption, which continues to set records, even in the face of a worldwide slowdown. One China stainless steel index has risen from 99.39 on the 17th, to 105.52 today, reflecting a recent slowdown in stainless steel production in that country, and laying the foundation for a revamp in that production early next year, most likely after their New Year holiday break. If they weren't using nickel to make stainless steel, they were stockpiling it this year, with reports that pig (yes the ham and bacon kind of pig) farmers were actually stockpiling copper and nickel ore, giving an entirely new meaning to the term pig nickel. Speaking of pig nickel, China has imported more laterite ore this year than any previous. So while the rest of the world slows, what is going in China continues to baffle and bewilder. We were incorrect about getting a new BDI number today. One of our readers graciously advised us the next Baltic Dry Index report will not be issued until January 4th. We appreciate the correction. In economic news today the Chicago PMI rose to 60.0 from 56.1, which was higher than expected and a three year high.  

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (MW) RBS forecast - Nickel, despite its large increase in demand, driven by a rebound in austenitic stainless steel (which accounts for some 65% of nickel consumption), is expected to be the weakest base metal in terms of price action during 2010, with the price averaging just 1% more than the level recorded for 2009.
  • (SSY) The FOB price of Indian iron ore of 63.5% Fe content rose to a 15-month high of $93/t at the end of last week, according to data from U-Metal. This takes the delivered price in China to $115/t, also the highest level since end-September 2008, and $5/t above the previous 2009-high recorded in early August.
  • (JOC) The American Trucking Associations’ Truck Tonnage Index fell 3.5 percent compared with a year ago in November, which the ATA called an improvement after 12 months of steeper declines. In October, the index was down 5.2 percent from a year earlier.
  • http://www.purchasing.com/article/442005-U_S_steel_production_down_37_in_2009.php - more
  • Q&A: Jeremy Stein on the Future of American Capitalism - more
  • Patrick Newport, IHS Global Insight - One in four mortgages are currently underwater. Foreclosure and delinquency rates, which hit a record high at the end of the third quarter of 2009, are therefore likely to continue to rise, perhaps sharply.
  • New Slip in Housing Prices Undercuts Fragile Optimism - more
  • Pimco CEO: We're Trained to Think the "Farther You Fall, The Higher You'll Bounce Back. We're Hostage to the V"-Shaped Recovery Model - more

  Cuban nickel output seen lowest in a decade - Cuba's unrefined nickel plus cobalt production appears to have been between 60,000 and 65,000 tonnes this year, the lowest in a decade, according to scattered radio reports this week. - more

  U.S. steel production down 37% in 2009 - U.S. steel production through December 26 at 62.8 million net tons is down about 37% from 99.6 million tons produced in the same 51-week period a year ago, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. - more

  • Iron, Steel Maker: Caution On 2010 - The North American iron and steel business improved greatly in the second half of this year, but Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. will continue to operate conservatively until it is clear the improvement will be sustained, said Chairman, President and Chief Executive Joseph A. Carrabba. - more

  Bid battles heat up in Canadian mining sector - Mergers and acquisitions among Canadian mining companies are heating up and the trend is expected to continue in 2010 as businesses seek to cut costs and gain control of scarce resources. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.09/lb lower, with other London traded base metals mixed. The US Dollar is trading less than 1/10 of 1% higher against the Euro and at 1.4346 at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are quiet for a second day, down slightly and at $78.75/barrel. Gold is down 1/4 of 1% and silver is off 6/10 of 1%. Gold fell below $1100/ounce yesterday. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher with China up 1-2/3%. European markets are lower this morning, after the European Central Bank reported loans to households and companies declined for a third straight month in November. And futures show Wall Street could open lower after ending a 6 day winning streak yesterday. Nickel inventories jumped by over 1000 tonnes overnight, and we will get our first look for the week at the Baltic Dry Index later this morning.     
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning metals news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "LME metal prices rose on Tuesday, catching up to earlier gains seen in COMEX and Shanghai, but there was a modest late-day fade in copper, as the dollar strengthened quite significantly, gaining almost a full Euro on the day. Nevertheless, the day was still a good one for the metal bulls, with copper hitting 15-month highs, zinc hitting 20-month highs, while tin scaled a 14-month peak. However, volumes remain very light and it does not take much buying (or selling) to move prices in any one particular direction. We are mixed at the time of this writing, recovering from earlier weakness.  ...  Nickel is at $18,960, down $240; charts suggest we could see next resistance at the $19,500-$19,700 level, while support is at $18,000, along the recent short-term upchannel. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) has announced a price rise of US$150~200/ton for stainless steel exports for next January. The company’s domestic prices for 400 series remained unchanged, but 300 series will raise by NT$3,000/ton.
  • (CRU) Global stainless steel demand to will finish 2009 by between 6% and 10% lower than in 2008 - Fitch
  • (Interfax) Jinchuan Group Ltd., China's largest nickel producer, has raised its ex-works refined nickel price for the fifth time in December by RMB 3,000 ($439.35) to RMB 141,000 ($20,649.36) per ton, in line with international refined nickel prices, according to Jinchuan Group's Web site on Dec. 30.
  • (MBiz) -Yusco, Taiwan's largest stainless steel maker pointed out in a statement addressed to Taiwan Securities Exchange, the company would invest U.S.$28mln in constructing a stainless HRC and CRC processing center in mainland of China.
  • US sets preliminary duties on Chinese steel grating - more
  • Ask the Energy Expert: Why Is Solar Taking So Long? - more
  • Hope Remains, But Confidence Still Looks Shaky - more
  • Throwing Darts - more

  Ferrochrome Prices Expected to Recover Next Year - Ferrochrome prices are expected to recover in the course of next year although contract prices agreed on with major stainless steel buyers in Europe for the March quarter were slightly weaker than the December quarter. - more

  JSL plans 2.5 MT of stainless steel output capacity by 2014 - JSL Ltd today said its stainless steel manufacturing capacity will go up to about 2.5 MT by March 2014 on the back of a 1.6 MT greenfield plant it would set up in Orissa, making it the largest producer in India. - more

  China extends anti-dumping probe into EU carbon steel fasteners - China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) announced Tuesday it is to extend an anti-dumping investigation into carbon steel fasteners imported from the European Union. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • China steel body says miners want 20-30 pct ore hike - China's steel industry association expects foreign miners to call for a 20-30 percent increase in benchmark iron ore prices in 2010, the official China Securities Journal reported on Wednesday. - more
  • India’s Iron Ore Exports May Drop 4.5% on Duties, Group Says - Iron ore shipments by India, the world’s third-largest exporter, may be at least 4.5 percent below an earlier forecast after the government raised duties, the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries said. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Tuesday, December 29

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - no report today (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Billionaire Kuok, Rothschild Said to Be Investing in Rusal $2 Billion IPO // Shenzhen Nanshan Refuses Goldman's Demand for $80 Million Hedging Payment // China Railway, Tongling Bid $651 Million for Canada's Corriente Resources // Sumitomo Mitsui to Study Share Sale as Banks Urged to Boost Capital Ratios // China CNR Posts Smallest First-Day Advance Among Country's IPOs This Year // Asian Commodity Stocks, Metals Gain on China Outlook; Japanese Banks Drop // UBS Said to Search New York-Area Market for Office Space as Prices Decline // GM May Wait Until After Year-End to Decide Saab's Future, Aakerlund Says // JPMorgan's Dimon Said to Call Darling to Protest U.K.'s 50% Tax on Bonuses // German December Inflation Rises to Eight-Month High on Energy Price Gains // European Stocks Advance, Led by Commodity Producers; Xstrata, Vedanta Rise // New York Municipalities Lead Local Government Market With Bond Auctions // Fed Proposes Term Deposit Sales to Absorb Reserves Threatening Inflation // Retail Sales in U.S. Increased 2.3% Christmas Week on Last-Minute Shopping // U.S. Consumer Sentiment Gains in Signal Economy Will Expand Into Next Year // Home Prices in 20 U.S. Cities Rose for Fifth Consecutive Month in October
  • The Euro has soured this afternoon, and is not trading nearly 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is off session highs and only slightly higher. Gold is down 9/10 of 1% while silver is off over 2.1%. Base metals ended the session broadly higher, thanks to some serious fund buying. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, and after initially following the Euro lower, made a comeback bounce late in the session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.71/lb . Inventories of nickel rose yet again over the holiday break and now stand shy of the 153,000 tonne level. Any consecutive gain these days will set a new all time record high for nickel stored in LME approved warehouses, since the old record that has stood since 1994, was passed last week. Ed Meir of MF Global notes that nickel has passed thru another level of resistance, and predicts the market may see some topping action around the $8.85/lb - $8.93/lb mark. The market showed some difficulty punching thru the $8.75/lb level today, although it tried twice, but this could be only a temporary pause caused by the strain of the rising Dollar.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • China Unveils the World’s Fastest High Speed Train - more
  • “2010: Foreseeable and Unforeseeable Risks ~ The Room For Policy Error is Enormous” - more
  • Obama’s Next Trillion Spending Might Be Worth It: Amity Shlaes - more
  • H-1B Visa Cap Reached with a 10% U.S. unemployment rate - more

  Mining investments miss this year’s target - Investments in the capital-intensive mining industry fell short of an already-downscaled $650-million full-year target by almost half, data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau show. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending December 26, 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,445,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 60.6 percent. Production was 975,000 tons in the week ending December 26, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 40.9 percent. The current week production represents a 48.2 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending December 26, 2009 is down 2.3 percent from the previous week ending December 19, 2009 when production was 1,479,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 62.0 percent.

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.22/lb higher, with all base metals trading higher this morning. The Euro is stronger this morning, up 1/3 of 1% against the US Dollar, giving a boost to commodity trading. NYMEX crude futures are stalled, at $78.65/barrel. Gold is down 1/4 of 1%, and silver is off by the same. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended flat, with China up 2/3 of 1%. European markets are higher this morning, thanks to higher commodity prices, and US futures show a higher opening in store for Wall Street. Nickel inventories rose again over the holiday break. Stainless and nickel news is shy this morning, but a check of the metals index from China shows steel and stainless steel prices have risen sharply over the last week.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Shanghai metal prices rose on Friday and were up again on Monday in very thin trading, as constructive US macro data out last week and good figures out of China and Japan over the weekend, all lent support. Out of the US, although durable goods orders rose modestly in November, the number was significantly higher when stripping out the steep drop in the volatile transportation index. In addition, there was a welcome dip in the latest weekly initial jobless claims readings. (In fact, based on the recent improvement in labor trends, more economists are now calling for increases in nonfarm payrolls for both December and January). Out of the Far East, China raised its 2008 growth estimate to 9.6% from 9%, and said this year’s quarterly figures will also increase. Out of Japan, industrial production climbed the most in six months in November, sending Japanese stocks to four-year highs on Monday. We are up again in Tuesday’s metal session, building on earlier gains. .... In the meantime, with the dollar weaker again today and apparently stalling after a good run higher during much of December, the path of least resistance for most metals is higher, this despite the fact that fundamentals do not look as inspiring.  ... Nickel is at $19,150, up $500, and prices have easily pushed through resistance at $18,700. Charts suggest we could see some topping action between the $19,500-$19,700 level. On the fundamental side, Reuters reports that stainless steel producers may be trying to secure chrome purchases, suggesting a possible ramp-up in stainless production.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Market analysts predicted that Taiwan's stainless steel producers, such as Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) and Tang Eng, may hike their stainless steel list prices for next January by NT$2,000/ton, not only because of strong nickel price but also demand recovery.
  • Commodity Prices Pose Big Risk in 2010: Sri Mulyani Indrawati - more
  • Which way for commodities in 2010? - more

  Chinese manufacturers see strong rebound - Profits at Chinese industrial companies returned to growth in January through November, ending a year of declines and offering clear evidence of a stronger recovery for the country’s businesses. - more

  Kingdom’s steel production to rise 50%, says official - Saudi Arabia’s domestic steel production capacity will rise by at least 50 percent within the next three years, a senior government official said on Monday. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • USW gives strikers a bonus - More than 600 striking Steelworkers lined up at the new Steel Hall on Brady Street on Monday to receive $100 Christmas bonuses from the international union. - more

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • (Interfax) The Indian government's recent increase of its iron ore export taxes is expected to have little impact on China's Indian iron ore imports, an analyst told Interfax on Dec. 28.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Monday, December 28

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - markets closed today  (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Chinese Industrial Company Profits Surge as Stimulus Boosts Construction // KT to Eliminate Almost 16% of Workforce, Saving About $393 Million a Year // Wen Says China to Curb Property Speculation, Resist Pressure for Yuan Gain // Asian Stocks Rise on Outlook for China, Japan Growth; Won, Copper Advance // Tanker Glut Signals 25% Freight Decline as 26 Miles of Ships Meet Demand // U.K. Property Prices May Drop 1% in 2010 on Unemployment, Hometrack Says // European Stocks Advance on Economic Strength; ArcelorMittal, Boliden Gai // Most Profitable CEOs Get Smallest Gains in Biggest Stock Rally Since 1930s // Economy in U.S. Poised for Growth Surge as Most Accurate Economist Sees It  // Morgan Stanley Sees 5.5% Note as Geithner Confronts Deficit-Driven Market // War on Wall Street as Congress Sees Returning to Glass-Steagall // U.S. Holiday Retail-Sales Increase of 3.6% May Top Forecasts on Extra Day //
  • The US Dollar is trading higher against the Euro, up over 1/10 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude is up 1% and nearing $79/barrel. Gold is up a little more than 1/10 of 1% and silver is over 2/10 of 1% higher. London markets were closed today, so base metals, including nickel, went untraded and inventory numbers went unreported. This also applied to the Baltic Dry Index numbers. All will re-open tomorrow.

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (CM) Nickel production in Japan fell 18% YOY in the first 10 months of 2009. Exports of nickel iron from Japan rose 66% during the same period, primarily to China and India.
  • (PM) The U.S. pallet business will be about 3% lower in fiscal 2009–2010, which began in July, according to Brambles, the international warehouse pallet maker based in Australia. The slowdown in U.S. pallet buys in fiscal 2008–2009 left 4 million pallets in depots. Graham Kraehe, chairman, says U.S pallet purchasing remains "below expectations due to prevailing economic conditions."
  • Buying plans have entered a funk (Buyers' 30-day buying plans) - more
  • (AP) A publicist says the Hollywood disaster movie “2012? has become China’s best-selling movie in history.
  • (GT) China - Housing prices may rise 20-30% next year: economist - more
  • Rural wages up in 2009 - more
  • Bankers and Economists Say Gold is a Bubble. Here’s Why You Should Ignore Them - more
  • Raghuram Rajan on the Future of the U.S. Model of Capitalism - more
  • American Exceptionalism Strikes Again - more
  • Berkshire Eliminates 21,000 Jobs as Manufacturing, Retail Slump - more
  • 2009: The Year Wall Street Bounced Back and Main Street Got Shafted - more
  • The Recession Begins Flooding Into the Courts - more
  • A Tentative Sparkle Enlivens Holiday Shopping - more
  • The not-so-sweet side of closing 'doughnut hole' - more
  • Krugman: 'Reasonably High Chance' the Economy Will Contract - more
  • The two-paycheck effect - more
  • The Big Zero - more
  • Knowing your battery, Part 1 - 10 common battery myths - more

  Nickel price may float around $20,375 in 2010 - The LME three-month nickel price rose 47% in the year to 7th December, compared with copper’s rise of more than 135%, zinc's 94% and lead's 150%, while tin and aluminium have climbed 47% and 36%, respectively. - more

  Can stainless steel tie wire be used with standard rebar?  - Bill Palmer, president of Complete Construction Consultants in Lyons, Colo., responds: - more

  For Kremlin-backed oligarchs, signs of life - Oleg Deripaska has gone from dead oligarch walking to government-backed deal maker. - more

  Machinability of metals - The condition and physical properties of the work material have a direct influence on the machinability of a work material. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading untraded, as the London Metal Exchange is closed for Boxing Day. London markets will re-open tomorrow. The US Dollar is trading slightly higher at the moment, and off session highs. NYMEX crude futures are up 1/3 of 1% and over $78/barrel. Gold is up 1/2 of 1% while silver is 310 of 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets started the last week of the year up, with China rising over 1-1/2%. European markets, less the UK, are higher this morning, and futures show US markets may open higher. Barron's published an interview with Kevin Duffy and Bill Laggner, principals of the Dallas-based hedge fund Bearing Asset Management, over the weekend. From the interview is the following quotation by Duffy - "Any healthy system needs a way to correct error and remove waste. Nature has extinction, the economy has loss, bankruptcy, liquidation. Interfering in this process lengthens feedback loops. Error and waste are allowed to accumulate, and you ultimately get a massive collapse. Capitalism is primarily attacked by two groups: utopians who wish to impose a more “compassionate” system, and political capitalists who want to enjoy the fruits of success without bearing the pain of failure. They use the coercion of the state to gain privileges, at the expense of everyone else. As a country we’ve become less tolerant of economic failure. The result has been a series of interventions, such as meddling in the credit markets, promoting homeownership and creating a variety of safety nets for investors. Each crisis leads to an even greater crisis. The solution is always greater doses of intervention. So the system becomes increasingly unstable. The interventionists never see the bust coming, then blame it on “capitalism.".

  Reports

  • Morning Montra - pdf here
  • Metals & Energy - pdf here
  • Market Drivers - pdf here
  • Robry Sunday Night Economic Assessment - more
  • SMM Weekly Nickel Price Forecast - more
  • GFMS Quarterly Newsletter - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  (no report today due to extended holiday weekend on the LME)
  • (Yieh) In order to integrate the company's stainless steel business units in both Taiwan and China, Taiwan's Walsin Lihwa plans to invest NT$5 billion to set up a new stainless steel cold rolling plant with annual capacity of 500,000 tons in Taichung Harbor Industrial Zone.
  • (Yieh) According to Korean POSCO, the company planned to build its second stainless steel service center in Vietnam at US$ 10.15 million. The new plant will be built in POSCO-VHPC located at Ho Chi Minh City.
  • (JMB) Japanese steel demand increases by 33.4% to 23.9 million tonnes in January-March 2010 from same period of 2009, announced by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Friday.
  • (Dow Jones) China's Jinchuan Group, the world's fourth largest nickel producer, raised nickel prices Thursday to CNY135,000 a metric ton from CNY132,000, according to a notice posted on the Shanghai Nonferrous Metals Market's Web site and other industry information portals.
  • Earth-Friendly Elements, Mined Destructively - more
  • Wen stands firm on yuan - more
  • U.S. debt ceiling raised to $12.4-trillion - more
  • Two hedge-fund managers predict the economy’s next leg down - more

  S.Korea POSCO to keep stainless steel prices in Jan - South Korea's POSCO will maintain prices of its stainless steel products for January at December levels, the company said in a statement on Monday. - more

  Varun Inds to set up new stainless steel manufacturing plant - Stainless steel manufacturer and exporter, Varun Industries, today said it is setting up a Rs 800 crore stainless steel-cum-alloy steel plant at Rohat, Jodhpur. - more

  Commodities to rise in 2010 - Both UK research consultancy GFMS and UK brokers Fairfax IS (Fairfax) have turned bullish on forecast metals demand from China during 2010, with Fairfax also predicting strong gains for mining equities - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • Challenging year for business in Sudbury - It's been a trying year in the Nickel Capital. Thousands of people lost their jobs, much of the pain being felt in mining-related fields including the mining supply and service sector.
  • USW, Vale exchange proposals - Mining and health care dominated the headlines in May and attract a good deal of ink throughout the remainder of 2009. - more

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Thursday, December 24


Merry Christmas to our readers and may 2010 be an especially kind year to you all.

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up

  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 18 to 3,005. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Bank of Japan Members Ready to Act Against Financial Volatility Last Month  // Glencore Considers Initial Offering After Crisis Delivers `Wakeup Call' // Aiful Avoids Bankruptcy After Creditors Vote to Approve Debt Restructuring // Asian Stocks Climb as Oil, Metals, Computer Chips Surge on Demand Recovery // Central Banks Slashing Dollar Purchases to Kill 2010 Rally, Barclays Says // Dollar Declines as Fed Seen Keeping Stimulus Measures in Place for Longer // FTSE Rises to Highest Level Since September 2008, Extending Annual Rally // European Stocks Advance for Second Week on Economic Recovery; Shell Gains // Schwarzenegger May Appeal to Obama as $21 Billion Deficit Defies Solution // Retailers Slugging Out Final Stretch Try Steeper Discounts, Longer Hours // Durables Orders, Jobless Claims Show Confidence Increasing in U.S. Economy // Berkshire Workforce Cut by 21,000 on Slump at Manufacturing, Retail Units // U.S. Stocks Rise for a Fifth Day Following Durable Goods, Jobless Reports
  • The Euro has lost some steam, only trading 15/100% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is now trading nearly 3/4 of 1% higher and over $77/barrel. Gold is up 1-1/2% while silver is higher by nearly 1.6%. Base metals ended mixed but mostly higher. Indicator charts show nickel jumped early, and added some steam at teh close. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.46/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in approved LME warehouses soared overnight, shattering a 15 year old record high, and posting a number never before seen since the LME began trading nickel. The old record of 151,254 tonnes has stood since the Soviet Union collapsed and nickel flooded the market as Russia sought much needed cash. Today, the LME reported total inventory numbers at 152,400 tonnes, after large inbound shipments arrived into both Rotterdam and Singapore (here). While some may reason that this influx over the last few months was to be expected, in light of the impending 5% duty to be added to Russian exports next month, it is also must be noted that the strike in Sudbury and Voisey's Bay, that started in July, has cost the world about 10% of its annual production.  Had this strike not shut down this much production, would we have hit record high's much earlier in the year? None of this seems to matter much since nickel held above a resistance line for two consecutive day,s triggering traders to buy, which has driven the market higher this week. Its highly technical and if you want to know why this matters, ask a professional trader that makes their trades strictly off charts, and not the news. We spoke to one trader one day who uses charts to dictate his trades, who finally became exasperated with our questions about fundamentals and current affairs, and informed us that he could care less if he knew the world would come to an end tomorrow, he would still trade with the charts. And since he was a very wealthy trader, we couldn't very well argue with his logic. The Baltic Dry Index lost 18 points overnight, to settle at 3,005, but the descent is slowing again.
  • The London Metal Exchange is closed Friday for Christmas, so we wish each of you a safe, restful, and joyful holiday weekend!

  Reports

  • Commodities daily update: precious metals, base metals, crude oil - more
  • WorldOMeters - more

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Norilsk Sees 2010 Nickel Output In Russia Up Slightly To 234,000 Tons
  • (RM) World consumption of nickel in November exceeded the volume of production, reports Bloomberg, citing data from the International Nickel Study Group International Nickel Study Group (INSG). Production of primary nickel in October amounted to 108,8 thousand tons, while demand stood at 110.9 thousand tons, leads report INSG agency.
  • (BN) Zhi-Qiang Yang said, Jinchuan Group, plans to use this opportunity of lower prices to expand nickel production in 2009 intended to produce 12 million tons of nickel, and produce about 40 million tonnes of copper. In addition, the Group is investing in renovation of Gansu Province, smelting equipment, and in Mexico, Kenya, Zambia and Australia, a joint venture set up in countries such as exploration companies
  • (BN) Barclays Capital Monday said that nickel prices will rise next year due to active stainless steel industry. The agency expects the fourth quarter of this year, an average nickel price of 19,000 U.S. dollars / ton in 2010 expected to rise an average of 21.5 thousand U.S. dollars / ton. ($21,500/ton = $9.75/lb)
  • Energy Efficiency: How Nickel Helps Improve It - more
  • China’s Excess-Capacity Nightmare - more
  • Personal Income And Spending Numbers Disappoint - more
  • Mind the Gap: Why NY Fed Economists Expect Homeownership Rate To Keep Falling - more
  • Fed’s Bullard: ‘Too Early’ to Change ‘Extended Period’ Language - more
  • Companies ‘New Frugality’ A Reason for Concern - more
  • How Would Health Care Affect You? - more
  • Should Investment Firms Bet Against Their Clients? - more
  • Three years in the making, it's every boy's dream... the ultimate home-made model aeroplane - more

  POSCO fails to sign deal to buy Thainox - POSCO Co., South Korea's leading steelmaker, failed Tuesday to reach agreement with Thainox Stainless Plc. to take over the Thai steelmaker, the company said. - more

  S. Korea's BNG will produce ultrathin stainless steel strip in Jan., 2010 - Hyundai's CR subsidiary, BNG plans to produce ultrathin stainless steels strip in the Changwon's new production line in January, 2010. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.14/lb higher, with other base metals mixed and mostly higher.  The Euro is trading nearly 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar this morning. NYMEX crude futures are down 4/10 of 1% and under $76.50/barrel. Gold is up 1/3 of 1% and silver is higher by nearly 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, led by China which ended up 3%. European markets are slightly higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street wants to make it 5 for 5 bull run. LME nickel inventories shattered their 1994 record overnight.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metal prices soared on Wednesday, buoyed partly by a looming copper strike in Chile, but more importantly, by a substantial weakening in the dollar in what was one its weakest sessions in some time. The dollar lost almost a full Euro on the day as weaker-than-expected new home sales data, as well as personal income and spending figures, contributed to its sell-off. We also suspect that much of the buying in metals was exaggerated by the thin trading conditions prevalent at this time of year. Metals are up as of this writing, as continued weakness in the dollar, (now at 1.44 against the Euro), is boosting the complex yet again. In addition to stronger copper prices, we saw zinc hit 21-month highs earlier in the session, tin get to 14-month highs, and nickel push to two-month highs. Oil prices are also slightly higher right now, building on yesterday’s solid gains. The current advance in metals is certainly impressive, and prices could move higher still, but we would not be joining the buy side at this late stage, as the weaker dollar is driving much of the rally in treacherously thin market conditions.  ... Nickel is at $18,810, up $375. Having broken out of $17,500 resistance earlier in the week, we now seem to be trying to take out next resistance at $18,700. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) TISCO announced new weekly price by raising 304 hot rolled and cold rolled stainless steel price by RMB200/ton. In Wuxi market, the price of hot rolled and cold rolled stainless steel coils jumped by RMB500 – 600/ton.
  • (Asia) Japan's Kitz Corp. has developed surface treatment technology that prevents nickel and lead from leaching into water supplies from valves and plumbing fixtures such as faucets
  • (AAR) Total freight volume on U.S. railroads edged ahead of 2008 levels for the week ended December 19, the Association of American Railroads reported today. However, volume remained sharply below levels reported during the comparable 2007 week. In order to offer a complete picture of the progress in rail traffic, AAR will now be reporting 2009 weekly rail traffic with year over year comparisons for both 2008 and 2007.
  • Outlook for Chinese exports still grim - more

  Acerinox Extends 50% Cut In Working Hours At Cadiz Factory - Stainless steel producer Acerinox SA Wednesday said it will extend a 50% reduction in working hours for most of its staff at the company's factory in Cadiz, southern Spain. - more

  World stainless steel output rises 12.54 percent in Q3 2009  - According to the preliminary figures released by the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF), global stainless crude steel production increased in the third quarter of 2009 by 17.19 percent compared to second quarter of this year to 7.064 million metric tons, while a year on year increase of 12.54 percent was also registered. - more

  DJ China Jinchuan Raises Nickel Price To CNY135,000/Ton -China's Jinchuan Group, the world's fourth largest nickel producer, raised nickel prices Thursday to CNY135,000 a metric ton from CNY132,000, according to a notice posted on the Shanghai Nonferrous Metals Market's Web site and other industry information portals. - more

  Steel min seeks powers on ore used by sector - The steel ministry has sought an amendment in the Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act, 1957 to bring iron ore, manganese ore and chrome ore under its purview. Currently, the powers are exercised by the mines ministry. - more

  • Ferrochrome Demand in India Will Grow - By estimates of market players, demand for ferrochrome in India will grow to 550 thousand tons in 2010 in comparison to 350 thousand tons in current year. - more

  Nation slaps duties on EU metal fasteners - China said yesterday it would impose temporary anti-dumping tariffs on carbon-steel fastener imports from the European Union following a year-long investigation. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • Company won't start smelter at Christmas - Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas says she is relieved by assurances from Vale Inco Ltd. that it won't restart the Copper Cliff Smelter Complex until after the holiday season. - more
  • (MF Global) Talks between Vale and striking workers at the Voisey's Bay nickel mine in Eastern Canada could be resuming soon, but the walkout at Sudbury looks like it could stretch well into the New Year. The strikes at both operations have shaved about 10% off global nickel supply, but with inventories at record high levels and demand still sluggish, the impact on prices has been relatively muted.

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • (SSY) In November, China imported a total of 19.26 Mt of iron ore from Australia, up by 27% YoY. The second largest supplier was Brazil, with 14.06 Mt of iron ore imported by China, up by 14% MoM and 56% YoY, while imports from India rose from the recent low of 5.26 Mt in October to 8.21 Mt, according to U-metal.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, December 23

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 40 to 3,023. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Ford, Geely Agree on Volvo Sale Terms, to Sign Agreement in First Quarter // China Central Bank Studies Tighter Financial Supervision After Credit Boom // New Zealand's Economy Expanded Slower-Than-Estimated 0.2%; Currency Falls // Asian, European Stocks, Dollar, Oil Rise on Signs Economies Are Recovering // Glencore Sells as Much as $2.2 Billion in Bonds in Offer That May Spur IPO // European Stocks Advance; Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index Reaches 14-Month High // Buffett's Berkshire Sells Moody's Shares for Sixth Time After Profit Drop // Bernanke's Support for Second Term in Fed Runs 3-1 in Favor in U.S. Senate // Energy, Financials May Lead Rebound in Takeovers, Bloomberg Survey Show // Sales of New U.S. Homes Unexpectedly Fell in November to Seven-Month Low // Stocks Erase Gain, Dollar Drops as Home Sales Data Raise Recovery Concern
  • The Euro is now trading 3/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, after US new home sales showed a steep drop in November. NYMEX crude is trading 2-3/4% higher and nearing $76.50/barrel. Gold is up1% while silver is up 1-1/3%. Base metals all ended higher, thanks primarily to the Euro's strength. Indicator charts show nickel spent the day in a climb after a morning spike. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.36/lb , its highest close since Oct 29th. After 19 straight days of gains, inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses dropped slightly overnight, and now sit 690 tonnes shy of the all time record high. As Ed Meir of MF Global noted in his daily note this morning, nickel is higher today due to holding above a former line of resistance for two straight days, and now is set to climb higher. In fact, nickel was much higher this morning, well before the Euro went positive, and as the Euro increased further during the afternoon after US new home sales numbers showed an unexpected drop, nickel used it to plow higher. Sucden has failed to update their nickel chart since Monday.  The Baltic Dry Index ended down yet again, off 40 points to 3,023. Its descent is slowing again, and it possible it may go positive shortly, with one of the 3 sub indexes in the black. US reports were a mixed bag today, as consumer spending rose less than expected, incomes climbed, inflation cooled, and savings rates stalled. Then the Commerce Department reported new homes sales plunged 11% in November as the first time home buyer credit was set to expire. This shook the market, although the credit has been extended so it will be interesting to see if December's numbers don't fare much better. For those of you not working tomorrow, we wish you a joyous and safe holiday weekend, and for the rest of us, we hope to see you back here tomorrow. London markets are closed on Friday for Christmas, so tomorrow will be our last update this week.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • How to Pick a Winning Resource Mining Stock, Part I - more
  • Top Ten Reasons Why the Yield Curve Will Flatten - more
  • Why Aren’t Banks Lending? They Are Being Rational - more
  • Should You Feel Guilty About Walking Away? - more
  • Picking Up Nickels in Front of the Steamroller - pdf here

  MIIT: China to establish rare metal reserve system in 2010 - Chen Yanhai, director general of the Department of Raw Material Industry under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said recently that in 2010, MIIT will cooperate with relevant departments to strengthen the protection of resources and establish a rare metal reserve system. - more

  FNX Mining sees 31 pct rise in 2010 ore production - Canadian nickel and copper miner FNX Mining said it expects a 31 percent increase in 2010 ore production and said majority of the production is expected from copper-precious metal dominant deposits. - more

  China imposes measures on European steel fasteners - China's Ministry of Commerce said Wednesday it will impose temporary anti-dumping measures against imports of carbon steel fasteners from the European Union, according to a report by the state-run Xinhua news agency. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.18/lb higher, with all base metals trading higher. The Euro is trading nearly 3/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, giving a boost to commodities, although nickel is higher on technical sales. NYMEX crude futures are up 6/10 of 1% and nearing the $75/barrel level.  Gold is off 3/4 of 1% and silver is down /10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher with China up nearly a percent. European markets are higher this morning, and futures show Wall Street should continue its bullish run today. Nickel inventories fell slightly overnight.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Copper prices closed lower on Tuesday, shrugging off Chinese import data and relatively constructive existing sales data out of the US. In the latter regard, November existing home sales rose by 7.2%, their biggest advance since February of 2007, but the enthusiasm may have been tempered somewhat by the fact that expiring tax credits may have artificially boosted the numbers. Other macro numbers we saw disappointed somewhat; 3rd quarter GDP was revised to 2.2% from an earlier reading of 2.8%, suggesting that growth projections for the fourth quarter may get scaled down a bit. The dollar was not much of a factor yesterday, hovering around the 1.4250 level against the Euro for most of the day. We are making up for yesterdays' sloppy performance today in very thin trading conditions. Metals are up across the board, as an unchanged dollar and a stronger session in Shanghai is allowing some buying to come in.  ... Nickel is at $18,130, up $380. We got two daily closes above $17,500, and are now in store for further gains given the technical breakout evident on the charts. Next resistance is at $18,700." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
    (Dow Jones) Zambia's Munali Nickel Mine plans to raise annual ore output to 1.2 million metric tons by 2012 following its takeover by Chinese-owned Jinchuan Group, the Times Newspaper of Zambia reported Wednesday. The state-owned daily quoted General Manager Xin Xining as saying that development and production of nickel was expected to start in January. Zambia's only nickel producing mine was placed under care and maintenance early this year due to low global nickel prices.
  • (SBB) Following the 28% dive that Germany's crude steel production has seen in 2009, mills are expecting an increase of 10-15% next year, according the national steel federation, Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahl.
  • (SC) China's crude steel output and consumption are predicted to outpace 560 million tons in the full year 2009, respectively, and its steel import will hit 23 million tons, accounting for above 50% of the steel import in the world, said Qi Xiangdong, an official of the China Iron & Steel Association.
  • (JOC) Containerized imports at 10 major U.S. ports are expected to rise in three consecutive months starting in February, breaking a 31-month streak of year-to-year declines, the National Retail Federation and IHS Global Insight said in their monthly Port Tracker report.
  • (SO) On December 23, China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) announced the preliminary result of its antidumping (AD) investigation into carbon steel fasteners from the EU. The MOC has determined that there was dumping of imports of carbon steel fasteners originating from the EU, thus causing material injury to China's domestic carbon steel fastener industry, and thus has decided to impose temporary antidumping measures against imports of EU carbon steel fasteners. As a result, based on dumping margins ranging from 16.8 percent to 24.6 percent, importers of the above products are required to pay deposits to the Chinese customs as of June 27, 2009.
  • (AFPA) According to the American Forest & Paper Association's November, 2009 Paperboard Report released today, total production increased from October totals by 5,300 tons or 0.5%. Total paperboard production increased by 0.4% in November, 2009 compared to November, 2008.
  • A regular commentary on the El Niño-Southern Oscillation - more

  China November stainless steel production

  • China's major stainless steel mills reported production levels for November on Tuesday. Here are some of the figures released. (All numbers are thousand tons). In 300 series stainless steel, production of cold roll increased from 7.313 in October to 11.24. Hot roll 300 series fell from October's 15.64 to 11.83. In 400 series stainless, numbers showed a similar divergence. Cold roll production increased from 3.947 to 4.66, while hot roll dropped from 14.49 to 12.19. Numbers were reversed for 200 series stainless steel, with cold roll numbers falling from 4.08 to 3.4, and hot roll numbers rising from 3.22 to 3.32. Overall, China stainless steel production for November was 49% 300 series, 36% 400 series, 14% for 200 series. According to annual statistics, production of 300 series stainless steel slipped under the 50% level in May, as 400 series stainless has witnessed stronger growth in China this year. Overall production of 46.64 in November ,was 12% lower than July's 2009 high of 53.03.  

  Nickel remains a cruel mistress - Over three years, US$47bn cash spent by major miners on nickel assets has gone mainly down the drainpipe. - more

  China's growth in stainless steel supply will hit EU mill output - European producers are likely to be the main victims of the growing global overcapacity for stainless steel production. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Tuesday, December 22

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 91 to 3,063. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Freeport McMoRan Wins 38% Cut in 2010 Copper Processing Fees From Japan // Yen May Gain to 80 Versus Dollar, Japan Faces Double-Dip, Sakakibara Says // Zhou Says China's Central Bank May Still Need to Use Reserve Requirements // Stocks Rise, Bonds Fall as Economies Improve; Greek Government Debt Gains // Greece's Government Bonds Cut to A2 From A1 by Moody's Investors Service // U.K. Economy Shrank 0.2% in Third Quarter, Less Than Previously Estimated // Lloyds Agrees to Pay at Least $3.6 Billion to Raise $2 Billion of Capital // Decade's Biggest Gain for Stoxx 600 May Last on Profits, Strategists Say // European Stocks Advance as National Bank of Greece, EFG, Julius Baer Climb // Buffett Says of Burlington Northern Purchase, `I'd Rather Be in the West' // Existing U.S. Home Sales Rise to Highest Level Since 2007 in Recovery Sign // Economy in U.S. Expanded at Less-Than-Forecast 2.2% Rate in Third Quarter // Stocks Rally as Bonds, VIX Index Drop on Evidence Economies Are Improving
  • The US Dollar continues to trade higher against the Euro, but still by less than 1/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude is off 4/10 of 1% and under $73.50/barrel. Gold is down 2.2% and silver is over 1/10 of 1% higher. Base metals ended the day mixed and quiet. Indicator charts show nickel fell early, tried to make a recovery, fell again, and was making up some lost ground at the closing. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.05/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses rose slightly overnight, and now sit over the 150,500 tonne level, and 642 tonnes shy of the all time record. The Baltic Dry Index continues to slide, down 91 points to 3,063.The National Association of Realtors reported US sales home sales rose 7.4% in November, as buyers rushed to qualify for an expiring federal tax credit. The US Commerce Department revised its GDP numbers for the third quarter from 2.8% to 2.2%. Back to nickel, the worlds largest miner BHP reportedly has denied reports that it was getting out of the business of mining nickel, after announcing it was divesting itself of a 40% stake in a Philippines nickel operation.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • SpendingPulse 2009 Holiday Midseason Update: Improvement in Year-Over-Year Comparisons Virtually Across the Board - more
  • NY Fed: Federal Reserve Will Indeed Be Able to Raise Rates - more
  • County Compensation by Industry, 2008 - more
  • More on Temporary Help - more

  BHP Says It Has No Plans To Exit Nickel Business - BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) said Tuesday it has no plans to exit its nickel business, countering a media report that it could be considering selling mines in Australia and Colombia. - more

  BHP sells stake in $2B nickel project - Global miner BHP Billiton Ltd. Plc has pulled out of a $2 billion nickel project in Mati City, Davao Oriental after selling its 40 percent stake to a local partner. - more

  WTO to study China's raw material export curbs - The World Trade Organization (WTO) has organized a group of trade experts to study and rule on complaints by the U.S., the European Union and Mexico about China's curbs on exports of raw materials. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending December 19, 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,479,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 62.0 percent. Production was 975,000 tons in the week ending December 19, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 40.9 percent. The current week production represents a 51.7 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending December 19, 2009 is down 4.4 percent from the previous week ending December 12, 2009 when production was 1,547,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 64.9 percent.

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.05/lb lower, with all base metals trading quietly lower. The US Dollar is slightly stronger against the Euro, but just barely. NYMEX crude futures are down 1% and at $73/barrel. Gold is down 1/2 of 1% and silver is off by over 7/10 of 1%. In overnight trading Asian markets ended higher, with China falling over 2-1/2%. European markets are higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street should open higher. Nickel inventories increased slightly overnight, while the daily BDI number has yet to be published. 
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Copper defied a stronger dollar to tack on about 1% in Monday trading, and there were decent gains in the rest of the metals as well. Fueling the copper rally, has been the surprising resilience of the LME-Shanghai arb, which has been strengthening measurably over the past week. Whether this translates into further imports remains to be seen. Certainly, tonight’s report out of China showing November imports rising on a month-over-month basis may be too early an indicator of the arb’s impact, and we likely have to wait for December numbers to get a better sense of what is going on.  ... Nickel is at $17,740, down $210. We are looking for another close above $17,500 today for prices to clear the top end of the trading range and stage a technical breakout. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Bloomberg) BHP Billiton Ltd. the world’s biggest mining company, has “no plans to exit” nickel mining, Melbourne-based spokeswoman Kelly Quirke said in an e-mailed statement today.
  • (Yieh) China produced 62.952 million tons of finished steel in November, up by 0.3 percent than October. The output from January to November totaled 628.311 million tons, up 17.1 percent than last same period.
  • (MBiz) According to the expectation of Steel Market Information Company (SMI),China's stainless steel melting ability in 2009 will increase to 14.5mln tons from 12.5mln tons in 2008,and it will exceed 20mln tons per year in 2012. However,stainless steel production will possibly rise to 16mln-18mln tons per year in 2015. This means that China's producers will have to reduce the capacity utilization rate or increase the exports to great degree.
  • (JMB) Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Steel agreed with Xstrata by Monday to reduce ferrochrome purchase price by 1.8% for January-March from October-December.
  • (SBB) ThyssenKrupp Nirosta has cut back its number of working shifts in December, blaming low demand and order intake, it tells Steel Business Briefing. Over Christmas and New Year, the German stainless steel producer will be idle for up to two weeks, it adds.
  • Alba Mineral relinquishes seven nickel licences in Sweden - more
  • Farmers, not bankers will drive Ferraris: Jim Rogers - more
  • Bribery in the U.S. Senate Sets a New Low Point - more

  BHP sells stake in Philippine nickel project Global miner BHP Billiton has pulled out of a $US2 billion ($2.3 billion) nickel project in the southern Philippines, selling its 40 per cent stake to a local partner - more

  Who Would Bet on Nickel in Russia? - The expression "nickel boom" sends us back to the recent "fat" years. Back then, nickel prices at the London Metal Exchange (LME) soared from 11.5 thousand U.S. dollars per ton in the end of 2005 to 54.2 thousand in the summer 2007. - more

  Eti Krom / Turkey Rises Price Of Chrome Ore For Export = For Shipments In Jan. - Mar. / 10 Quarter, Circumstances In Chrome Ore Cause To Increase Its Costs By 25% - According to an information received in this week from Mr. Robert Yuksei Yildirim, President and CEO of Eti Krom Inc. as a major chrome producer in Turkey, the Company will rise prices of chrome ore to be exported in each month of January - March quarter of 2010. - more

  Steel price recovery in 2010 driven by higher input costs - Despite a flood of announcements from the US mills scheduling increases for the first quarter 2010, during recent negotiations, some suppliers have lifted strip mill product values, others have lowered them and a number have left them unchanged. - more

  Vietnam halts steel plants after illnesses - paper - Vietnamese authorities have ordered several steel plants in the port city of Haiphong to suspend production after nearly 90 people at a nearby school were hospitalised, presumably from toxic fumes, a newspaper reported. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Monday, December 21

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 104 to 3,153. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Dollar Trades Near 3-Month High, Copper Rises on Global Economic Recovery // Japan's Exports Fall at Slowest Pace in 14 Months as Asian Demand Recovers // China Targets 8% Growth in 2010 Amid `Fragile' World Recovery From Slump // GM Says It Has `Several' Inquiries About Saab as Spyker Submits New Offer  // CBI Raises U.K. Economic Growth Forecast for 2010, Predicts BOE Bond Pause // European Stocks Advance as Safran, Cairn Energy, Outokumpu Shares Climb // Bernanke TIPS Give Way to Inflation as Deflation-Adjusted Yields Diminish // Dollar Strength Signaled in Stock Correlation First Time Since Lehman Died // CEOs Paying Record 56% Premium for M&A Shows Why Stocks Still May Be Cheap // World Trade Center Debt Seeking Year-End Sale Lead Municipal Bond Market // Risk Vigilantes Make Hints of Higher Rates Perilous Idea for Central Banks // Treasury Yield Curve Steepens to Record on Outlook for Recovery, Inflation // U.S. Commercial Real Estate Prices Fall to 2002 Levels, Moody's Data Show // Stocks Climb, Bonds Fall on Global Economic Recovery; Carbon Permits Drop
  • The Euro surrendered its strength from earlier, and is now trading 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is lower by 1/2 of 1% and at $73/barrel. Gold is down nearly 1-3/4% and silver is off 1-1/2%. Base metals fared better, mostly ending higher. Indicator charts show nickel could have cared less what the Dollar did today, as it spent the day on a near continual climb. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.14/lb .  Stockpiles of LME inventoried nickel rose by over 2000 tonnes over the weekend, and now sit over the 150,000 tonne level, just 756 tonnes shy of the all time record high from 1994. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel's resilience in the face of a strengthening Dollar, typically bad news for commodity trading (chart here). Rumors floating around that BHP may bail on nickel mining completely and sell its remaining operations. Some of this speculation goes back to a statement made by BHP CEO Marius Kloppers back in August "Over the last couple of years, some new technologies and production means have entered into the nickel business, most notably the production of nickel pig iron in China through blast and electric furnace. Both of these developments have changed the dynamics of the nickel market a little, and probably mean that prices will be capped more on the upside, because there is a large amount of ready capacity which can kick in when demand increases." Russia media reported today that an export tax of 5% will resume after the first of the year on nickel shipped from that country. The Baltic Dry Index fell for the 11st consecutive day, down 104 points to 3,154. The BDI has given up nearly 23% of its total since December 4th, dropping 882 points, but remains well off September lows.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (CO) World crude steel production for the 66 countries reporting to the World Steel Association (worldsteel) was 107.5 million metric tons (mmt) in November 2009. This is 24.2% higher than November 2008. November 2009 is the third month in a row showing a positive year-on-year growth rate since September 2008...... Total crude steel production in the 66 reporting countries for the first 11 months of 2009 was 1,090 mmt, a -10.8% decrease over the same period of 2008. The world crude steel capacity utilisation ratio in November 2009 was 75.0%, a slight decline from 76.9% in October 2009. Compared to November 2008, the utilisation ratio in November 2009 increased by 10.4 percentage points.
  • (Dow Jones) Russia's primary aluminium output in January-November fell by 8.8% compared with January-November 2008, the state statistics service reported Friday....nickel output fell by 3.5% ...
  • Looking a Little Deeper at Bernanke’s Floating Rate Mortgage - more
  • Stocks 1999-2009: Worst. Decade. Ever - more
  • Paul Krugman: A Dangerous Dysfunction - more
  • We are still very much in a bubble, yet many "analysts" are preaching recovery. - more
  • Joblessness Across the U.S.: Unemployment Rates by State - more
  • Temporary Employment and Job Growth - more

  S Korea's POSCO set to buy Thai steel mill - South Korean steel giant POSCO said Monday it is set to finalise a deal to buy the largest stainless steel producer in Southeast Asia. - more

  Year-End Review and Outlook for Commodity Prices in 2010, According to Scotiabank Commodities Expert - Scotiabank's Commodity Price Index, which measures price trends in 32 of Canada's major exports, strengthened markedly in November, climbing 5.3 per cent month-over-month (m/m) - more

  Vale strike marks threshold of brave new world for company, union: Horn - Some years ago, an underground worker at Creighton told me he lost confidence in Mother Inco when she stopped giving his family a free turkey at Christmas.  - more

  China declares iron ore war - The Pilbara region of Western Australia swelters for much of the year, but that's nothing compared to the heat being generated in the battle for the iron ore it contains. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.25/lb higher, with all base metals trading higher this morning. The Euro is trading 1/5 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are 1/10 of 1% higher, nearing $73.50/barrel. Gold is 2/10 of 1% higher, while silver is up over 4/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, while China was slightly higher for the day. European markets are higher this morning, while US futures imply Wall Street could open on the positive side. Nickel inventories rose by over 2000 tonnes over the weekend, while the BDI has yet to be published.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Morning Montra - pdf here
  • Metals & Energy - pdf here
  • Market Drivers - pdf here
  • BMO The Goods - pdf here
  • China Commodities Weekly - more
  • Weekly Scoreboard - pdf here
  • November 2009 Crude Steel Production - more
  • Crude Steel statistics 2009 - more
  • Commodities Monthly - pdf here
  • Robry Sunday Night Economic Assessment - more
  • SMM Weekly Review and Forecast (Dec 14-18) - more
  • SMM Morning Review - 2009/12/21 Nickel Market - more

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals closed higher on Friday, as strength in both precious metals and energy markets helped the complex hold on to its gains, as did the fact that the dollar’s rally seems to have stalled. We are building on Friday's gains this morning, with good advances noted in copper and ali. With markets in wind-down mode as we enter the holiday-shortened week, it does not take much to push prices rather sharply in one direction or another. In addition, the dollar is not doing much today either, and is holding steady at $1.4335 against the Euro. Oil prices are up fractionally, and US equity markets are expected to open up on the day. ... In other news, China’s industry minister said today that the country is targeting 8% growth in 2010 amid a “fragile” global recovery, while also aiming for an 11% gain in industrial production. China has officially aimed for 8% growth in GDP each year from 2005 and has yet to come up short.  .... Nickel is at $17,600, up $495. Nickel finally seems to be starting to make its move, but we would need to see two closes above $17,500 for prices to clear the top end of the trading range and break out."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Metallica wholly owns Greenvale nickel mine - more
  • Landen Capital to Acquire SAMA Nickel and Its Nickel/Copper Project in Ivory Coast, West Africa - more
  • (JMB) Japanese carbon steel import is expected to be around 2.5 million tonnes in 2009, which is more than 30% lower than 2008 and the lowest level since 1985.
  • The recession is over but the depression has just begun - more

  Russia to Resume 5% Nickel Export Tax as Prices Rise - Russia will reinstate a 5 percent tax on nickel exports as metal prices rebounded from a slump that prompted the government to support producers such as OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel by suspending the duty for a year.  - more

  BHP heading for the exit in nickel? - BHP Billiton may quit the nickel business as early as next year after selling two major nickel divisions in four months, though it still produces more than a tenth of the world's nickel in Australia and Colombia. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 15th December 2009 = Because Of Strengthened Ex. Rate Of Yen / US$, Japanese Trading Companies Have Shrunk Intention For Imports - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 15th December of 2009 is as follows  - more

  China Trims Steel Capacity Amid Glut, Minister Says  - China, the world’s top steelmaker, closed 16.9 million metric tons of obsolete capacity this year as part of an effort to ease domestic oversupply, according to Li Yizhong, minister of industry and information technology. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Friday, December 18

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 118 to 3,258. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Bank of Japan Says It Won't Tolerate Deflation as It Keeps Rates at 0.1% // Pimco's Zhu Leaves to Run China's Currency Reserves, Largest in the World // BHP Billiton's Nasser Must Avoid M&A `Ego' for Expansion, Investors Say // Asian Stocks Fall on Banking Rules as Yen, Australian Default Swaps Rise22 // General Motors Will Shut Sweden's Saab After Sale Talks With Spyker Fail // German Business Confidence Rose to Highest Level in 17 Months in December  // European Corporate Borrowing Costs May Rise as Stimulus Programs Reach End // ECB Increases Forecast for Euro-Region Writedowns by 13% to $792 Billion // European Stocks Drop, Led by Banks; Stoxx 600 Index Trims Weekly Advance // Obama Loses Lending Lever as Citigroup, Wells Fargo Repay U.S. Rescue Aid // Unemployment Rate Dropped in 36 States Last Month as U.S. Economy Improved // Pimco's Bill Gross Increases Cash Holdings to Most Since Lehman's Collapse // U.S. Stocks Fluctuate as Consumer-Company Shares Offset Technology Gains
  • The Euro surrendered to The US Dollar again today, now trading lower by nearly 2/10 of 1% but off session lows. NYMEX crude is trading over 1.1% higher and near $73.50/barrel. Gold is over 1/5% higher, while silver is 8/10 of 1% higher. Base metals ended the session, quiet, mixed, but mostly on the positive side. Nickel has shown some very strong resilience to the falling Euro this week, and that continued today. After an initial drop, indicator charts show nickel crawled its way back in the afternoon. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.76/lb , up three cents for the day and twenty three cents higher for the week. Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses rose for a 17th consecutive day, and now rest just shy of the 148,500 tonne level. Once again, none of the gains were due to inbound activity at Rotterdam. Sucden's day old chart shows yesterday's downturn in nickel trading (chart here), but we still can't help noting how strong nickel remains in light of the beating the Euro took this week. Vale Inco union officials finally responded to Vale's accusations that the union was a no show for negotiations earlier this week. See below for article. Xstrata and their Sudbury union officials began negotiations this week to avert a strike at that facility next year. The Baltic Dry Index fell another 118 points to read 3,258. A Chinese stainless steel index we follow, rose above the 100 level today for the first time since mid October, primarily due to stainless steel production cutback's and an increase in nickel prices. Monday is the winter solstice north of the equator, so this weekend we northerners will see the least amount of daylight than another weekend this year. Our friends to the south of the equator will enjoy a weekend with the most sunlight this year, since it is summertime there. So whether your weekend plans include lighting the fireplace, or lighting the barbie, we hope you have a safe and restful one!!  

  Reports

  Vale Inco preventing negotiations: union - Steelworkers Local 6500 officials handed out documents to the media Dec. 17 which they say prove it is Vale Inco, not the union, which is preventing further negotiations from taking place. - more

  Raw material bottlenecks to buoy steel prices - Cost pressures will be the major driver of global steel prices next year, with bottlenecks in the steel supply chain as well as in key raw materials such as iron ore and coking coal likely to keep prices buoyant. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.03/lb higher, with most base metals trading quietly higher this morning. The Euro and US Dollar are also quiet at the moment, with the Euro slightly higher. NYMEX crude futures are up over 1-6/10% and nearing the $74/barrel level. Gold is 2/3 of 1% higher, while silver is up nearly 6/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower with China off over 2-1/2%. European markets are higher after German business confidence increased to the highest level in 17 months in December, and US futures show Wall Street may open in the positive category.  Nickel inventories rose for the 17th consecutive day, and while the the market has sen an average gain of 914.6 tonnes per day over the last 16, the increase today was not as great. BDI numbers have yet to be published.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Base and precious metals sold off sharply on Thursday, with copper losing more than 2% of its value, as a rallying dollar pressured values lower. Some commodities did escape the dollar-related rout, with crude oil erasing earlier losses to close relatively unchanged. However, base metals had no such luck, with Thursday's selling being rather deep and widespread. The greenback hit a 3 1/2 month peak yesterday, pushing higher in light of wobbly US equity markets and lingering concern about European sovereign debt defaults. In the latter regard, S&P cut Greece's credit rating to triple-B-plus from single-A-minus late Wednesday, and the country remains on negative credit watch for now. We have been short-term bulls on the dollar and quite cautious fundamentally on the metals for some time now, and suspect these directional trades should hold in place at least for the balance of the year. As we wrote in earlier commentary, with much of the recent gains in metals coming primarily from the weaker dollar, it is logical to assume that some of these advances will be rolled back as the dollar strengthens. More importantly, we are not seeing a compelling improvement in the fundamentals of the complex, (best exemplified by rising metal inventories), that could otherwise offset currency related pressures. This morning, we are seeing a bounce in metals, with copper leading the way higher on account of a weaker dollar, now trading at 1.4370 against the Euro after getting to 1.43 yesterday. ...  Nickel is at $17,200, up $125, but $17,500 resistance remains formidable." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (MB) -It is reported on December 17 that Jinchuan Group plans to found a new mill in Fangchenggang,Guangxi,and its nickel estimated annual production is 100,000 tons and refined copper annual production is 200,000 tons,it will increase the nickel production by two thirds and copper production by one half by 2015..... The news is not publicly confirmed by Jinchuan Group.
  • (Sino) Leading Chinese nickel and copper producer Jinchuan Group Ltd. (JNMC) plans to achieve nickel and copper production capacity growths of about 66.7% and 50% by 2015, compared with its current levels, said one of its executive. The company's nickel output is predicted to hit 130,000 tons in the overall year 2009, compared with 104,000 tons in 2008...;
  • (Interfax) Jinchuan Group Ltd., China's largest nickel producer, will expand its annual nonferrous metals production capacity, including nickel and refined copper, from around 500,000 tons to 1.5 million tons by 2015, a company employee told Interfax on Dec. 18.
  • (SG) MetalBiz reported that, after posted increase and stabilization in the past three weeks, China's 304 series and 430 series of stainless steel price dropped by CNY 100 to CNY 400 per tonne in the week of December 7th 2009. However, traders said that it did not indicate the price would present downturn.
  • (AF&PA)  According to the American Forest & Paper Association’s November 2009 U.S. Containerboard Statistics Report released today, total containerboard paper production rose for the first time in 2009 when compared to same month last year. Total production saw an increase of 164,300 tons or 6.4% over November 2008. Production was down 2.1% compared to October 2009, however, the daily average percent change was up 1.2%. The year to date production fell 9.5% compared to 2008.
  • (AAR) The Association of American Railroads today reported that freight rail traffic remains down for the week ending Dec. 12, 2009. U.S. railroads reported originating 261,933 carloads, down 10.2 percent compared with the same week in 2008 and down 18.5 percent from the same week in 2007. In order to offer a complete picture of the progress in rail traffic, AAR will now be reporting 2009 weekly rail traffic with year over year comparisons for both 2008 and 2007.
  • The Case for Commodities - more

  Domestic Prices Of Ferro-Alloys In China Have Risen Further = Raise Of Electricity Fees Enforced From 20th November Has Caused Turning Point For Further Rises - Domestic prices of ferro-alloys in China as of the 2nd week of December have had a further rise in comparison with those at the end of October. - more

  The top 10 groundbreaking events of 2009 – 5 to 1 - 2009 was an eventful year for the Australian mining industry, with issues like Chinese foreign investment, uranium mining, climate change and the global recession all leaving their mark at some stage. - more

  • Few foresaw the resources boom that is sustaining us - In the early years of this decade, if you had told most mining bosses the next 10 years would see the biggest resources boom in living memory, you would have received, at best, a blank stare. - more

  Horizonte Minerals – wake up and smell the coffee - Down in Brazil there’s an awful lot of nickel as well as coffee. - more

  Ghosts of the brutal past - As hard as he tries, Lev Netto will never forget his first day at Norilsk Nickel, a Stalin-era forced labour camp in northern Russia where he was shipped as a prisoner in 1945. - more

  Nickel miner looking for money to start up mine - Ursa Major Minerals is searching for financing to re-open its Shakespeare Nickel Copper open pit mine in January. - more

  Japan Nov crude steel output up 1st time in 14 mths  - Japan's crude steel output marked its first year-on-year rise in 14 months in November on strong exports to Asia and a pick-up in demand from automakers and other manufacturing companies at home. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • China protests against Rio-BHP iron ore tie-up - China's steel industry voiced opposition Friday to a proposed joint mining venture between global mining giants Rio Tinto Ltd. and BHP Billiton Ltd. and called for global opposition against it. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Thursday, December 17

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 98 to 3,376. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Dollar Gains on Fed's Economic Outlook as Asia Stocks, Futures, Euro Drop // Hong Kong Asset Prices Face Risk of `Sharp Corrections,' Central Bank Says // China Stocks Are World's Worst Performer as Shares Decline on IPO Concern // Greece Defends Deficit Plan After S&P Lowers Rating; Stocks, Bonds Slide // ECB Said to Start Consulting Banks, Investors on Collateral Transparency // European Stocks Decline, Led by Greek Banks, Lloyds, Commerzbank, Xstrata // Citigroup Stock Sale Discount Prompts Treasury to Delay Disposal of Stake // Intel Case May Signal More Aggressive U.S. Effort on Antitrust Enforcement // Leading Indicators Point to Extension of U.S. Economic Recovery Into 2010 // Feldstein Says U.S. Economy Still in Recession, Calls 2010 Outlook `Weak' // Discover Financial Profit Drops as Unemployment Spurs Credit-Card Defaults // Greenspan Says S&P 500 Rally Cuts Stimulus Needs as Household Wealth Rises // Manufacturing in Philadelphia Area Expands as Sales, Employment Increase //
  • The US Dollar continues to beat up on the Euro today, up over 1-1/3% at the moment. This put unusually tough pressure on commodities, and few were able to beat it. NYMEX crude down over 1.1% and under $72/barrel. Gold down 2.8%. Silver down nearly 3%. And except for tin, base metals all ended lower. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.73/lb , down for the day but still showing plenty of bull left. Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses jumped by more than 800 tonnes overnight, bringing the total reserve to over the 147,500 tonne level and now 3,564 tonnes shy of the all time record high. Interestingly, it is worth noting that shipments into Rotterdam are not the typical culprit this week, with the Netherlands warehouse not receiving any inbound shipments the last two days. On this day last year, nickel had gained 666 tonnes the day before, and stood at 70,722 tonnes,. At less than half what it is today, the price of nickel closed that day at $4.40/lb as the world feared a total economic meltdown. Sucden's day old trading chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The RSI and SStoch numbers reflect a market that opened this morning leaning towards an overbought status, and trading approaching a line of resistance. Some days this matters, others not so much so. Nickel has been fighting an uphill climb this week against a stronger Dollar, and today, the Dollar's unusually strong jump appears to have taken some of the steam out of the bull. The Baltic Dry Index  was giving hints it might go positive a few days ago, but that does not appear to be happening, with today's numbers falling 98 points to 3,376.  Still no official comment from the Vale union leadership about why it failed to show up at a meeting with Vale officials on Monday. And at Sudbury's other large nickel operation, Xstrata and representatives from Mine Mill Local 598 started negotiations yesterday, with current labor contracts for the Sudbury and Timmins operations expiring at the end of January. And the big news for the stainless steel industry today is the announcement that European manufacturers were able to negotiate a two cent drop in ferrochrome prices for the first quarter of 2010. Jobless claims unexpectedly rose for a second week in the US, while the index of leading economic indicators rose for the eighth straight month, and the Philly Fed's business activity index rose to 20.7 from 16.7 in November.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Mark Parr - "Our inputs indicate that scrap costs are showing further upward bias over the past week after the December increase of $70/tonne, which sets the stage for further upside into January as flows remain constrained and domestic steelmakers prepare for a seasonal increase in production. We believe average prompt (prime) scrap costs are nearly $350/tonne vs. November levels of $265/tonne, while average shredded (obsolete) scrap costs are poised to exceed $300/tonne vs. November levels of $235/tonne."
  • WSJ/NBC Poll: Wage Worries Trump Unemployment Fears - more
  • 4 Big Mortgage Backers Swim in Ocean of Debt - more
  • How America let banks off the leash - more
  • Debt disaster fears rumble from Athens to London - more
  • Pacific Carriers Call for ‘Emergency’ Rate Hike - more

  From a Merafe Resources presentation at a Metals/Mining Conference in November

 

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.18/lb lower, with only tin trading higher this morning. The US Dollar continues its rally, up over 1-1/4% against the Euro and at 1.4346. NYMEX crude futures are lower by nearly 9/10 of 1% and at $72/barrel. Gold is down over 2%, with silver lower by over 2.1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China falling over 2% after Hong Kong’s central bank said the city is at risk of “sharp corrections” in asset prices. European markets are lower after the US Federal Reserve signaled it will remove most emergency measures and US futures show Wall Street may open in a gloomy mood. Nickel inventories jumped by a large chunk again overnight, while the BDi has yet to publish today's numbers.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metal prices rallied sharply on Wednesday, as relief over an unchanged Federal Reserve policy statement overrode the impact off a slightly more bullish dollar. Copper pushed to a one-week high, ali neared 14-month highs, while even nickel managed to get to a five-week high. The dollar was weaker earlier in the day yesterday, lending support to the advance, but somewhat surprisingly, it recovered after the Fed announcement and has not looked back since. ... We continue to remain cautious about metals going into the year-end; prices seem to have raced well ahead of existing fundamentals, and the complex has yet to give back much of the currency-induced gains that fueled its initial surge. ... Nickel is at $17,200, down $300; the $17,500 resistance level seems to be holding for the moment. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Bullish alarm bells are ringing for nickel, says Barclays Capital. Adds even though nickel continues to trade in the range that has dominated the metal since the summer. Says another weekly close above $15,725/ton implies the potential for a test of $25,256/ton or higher in 2010.
  • (BR) Merafe Resources said Thursday that the European benchmark ferrochrome price has been settled at $1.01 (R7.56) per pound for the first quarter of 2010, 2 US cents down from $1.03 per pound in the fourth quarter of 2009.
  • (Interfax) Jinchuan Group Ltd., China's largest nickel producer, has raised its ex-works refined nickel price by RMB 2,000 ($292.9) to RMB 128,000 ($18,746.06) per ton, in line with international refined nickel prices, according to Jinchuan Group's Web site on Dec. 17.
  • (Reuters) China Jinchuan to build Guangxi nickel , copper plants-source
  • (Yieh) According to Macquarie Group, the global stainless steel output is about 25 million tons in 2009, showing a decrease trend for three years in a row. Also, market sources reported that EU stainless steel mills are planning to reduce output by 20 percent in the beginning of next year. Japan, Europe and America are the biggest countries that reduce their production by around 29 percent, 26 percent and 13 percent in 2009. Conversely, China and Taiwan hike their output by 28 percent and over 15 percent respectively.
  • BMO Analyst Predicts Continued Upside to Commodities, Gold and Stocks in 2010 - more
  • Nucor Fasteners Division filed two appeals on December 15, 2009 in regards to their tariff petitions last September 23, 2009. Nucor Fasteners petitions for Anti-Dumping and Countervailing duties failed by a vote of 6-0 from the U.S. International Trade Commission on November 6, 2009.
  • Cyclone Weakens After Making Landfall in Northwestern Australia - more

  Ferrochrome Price to Drop in 1st Quarter, Merafe Says  - Merafe Resources Ltd., the producer of ferrochrome in a South African joint venture with Xstrata Plc, said the first-quarter European benchmark price for the steelmaking ingredient fell 1.9 percent. - more

  Global steel sector seen overcoming recession - Experience of the last two years has now begun to demonstrate that non-OECD countries can make up at least partially, for the demand decline in the industrial world. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • Vale Inco files suit against nine striking workers - Vale Inco Ltd. has taken the unprecedented step of suing nine individual striking Steelworkers for damages ranging from $75,000 to $120,000 for alleged actions on picket lines. - more

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • China's steel industry brands BHP-Rio tie-up a monopoly  - China's steel industry said Thursday it "firmly opposes" BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto's iron ore joint venture, branding it a "monopoly in disguise". - more
  • (Bloomberg) Baoshan Iron & Steel Co. said iron ore prices are unlikely to rise next year, the China Securities Journal reported today, citing General Manager Mao Guoqiang. China’s steel output may exceed 600 million tons in 2010, the Beijing-based newspaper reported.
  • Guest column: Rise in 2010 annual iron ore price unavoidable - Thanks to the stimulus packages of various countries, the global economy began to recover in 2009. China's prominent economic position and continuing GDP growth has helped the country bolster the world's steel sector. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, December 16

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 44 to 3,474. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Chinese Residents Tell Central Bank That Prices are `Too High to Accept' // Gold Buying by Central Banks Sends Sell Signal as Past Haunts Future Price // Australia Interest Rates Back to `Normal,' Battellino Says; Currency Falls // Asian Stocks Rise, Led by Japanese Financial Companies; Dollar Strengthens // Greece Borrows Privately With Banks as Debt Downgrade Drives Yields Higher  // European Central Bank Lends Banks $141 Billion in Final 12-Month Tender // U.K. Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Fall 6,300, First Drop Since February '08 // Norway Unexpectedly Raises Main Rate to 1.75% as Domestic Economy Heats Up // Stocks in Europe Rise for Fifth Day as Banks, U.K. Homebuilders Advance // Citigroup Says Abu Dhabi Authority Seeking to Rescind $7.5 Billion Deal // Global Confidence Holds Near Record as Economic Recovery Gains Momentum // Intel Is Sued by U.S. for Using Market Position to Stifle Chip Competition // Housing Starts, Price Gauge Point to U.S. Recovery With Little Inflation // Stocks, Oil Advance as Dollar Weakens Ahead of Fed Interest Rate Decision
  • The US Dollar continues to trade slightly lower against the Euro, by less than 1/10 of 1% and at 1.4547. NYMEX crude is up 3-1/3% and over $73/barrel. Gold is higher by over 1% and silver is up by more than 1-7/10%. Base metals all ended the day well into positive territory. Indicator charts show nickel jumped early, slumped a tad, athen slowed to a gradual growth during the last half of the day. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.93/lb, its highest close since early November.  Considering the Dollar is stronger than it was at anytime during November, nickel is actually trading higher at this point. Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses now sit over the 146,800 tonne level, after another large gain overnight. These levels are just under 4,400 tonnes shy of the all time record stock level seen in 1994 after the collapse of the Soviet Union that saw a flood of stockpiled nickel enter the market. The Baltic Dry index lost 44 points to 3,474. The Fed is wraping up its two day meeting today but little in news is expected to come out of it. The Commerce Department reported new housing starts rose better than expected in November, after taking an unexpected tumble in October. The Labor Department reported U.S. consumer prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in November, thanks primarily to energy costs. RBS Global Banking & Markets, in a note today stated, "Nickel remains our least preferred base metal, burdened with excess stocks. Nickel has (285,000 tonnes per annum) of idled capacity, plus a parade of new and expanded mines. Simply too much supply."

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (MB) Market shows that although the high-carbon ferrochrome turns better, offer continuously goes up, but Hunan, the number of enterprises stopping and restricting production in Sichuan and other regions consecutively increases. Mentioning the reasons of stopping and curbing the production, except for the tight electricity supply, the little profit is main reason.
  • (AP) China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) recently bought together delegates from 13 steelworks for discussions on technological reforms and innovations in the steel industry, aimed at environmental protection. For their part, the delegates asked the government to subsidize investment of steelworks for energy saving and emission reduction.
  • Steel recycling increased yet again last year - to reach 70 per cent, a 1.4 per cent increase from the 2007 total. That was the message of the latest recycling figures released at the end of last week by APEAL (the European Association of Producers of Steel for Packaging).
  • The Case for Optimism on the Economy - more
  • The Gold Bubble and the Gold Bugs - more

  Vale Refutes Xinhua Report On Vale CEO Iron Ore Price Remarks - Brazilian miner Vale SA (VALE) late Tuesday refuted a report by China's state-controlled Xinhua News Agency that was widely carried in Chinese media, on remarks about the 2010 benchmark iron ore negotiations made Monday by Vale chief executive Roger Agnelli. - more

  Mine Mill optimistic as contract talks begin with Xstrata: Paquin - Mine Mill Local 598/CAW and Xstrata Nickel have five weeks to bargain a new collective agreement before their current one expires Feb. 1. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.13/lb higher, with all base metals trading higher this morning as the euro zone purchasing manager composite index jumped to a 26-month high of 54.2. The US Dollar is lower against the Euro this morning, by less than 1/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude futures are over 8/10 of 1% higher, and over $71/barrel. Gold is up nearly 6/10 of 1% while silver is higher by the same. In overnight trading Asian markets ended lower, with China off 2/3 of 1%. European markets are higher this morning, while futures imply Wall Street should open on the positive. Nickel inventories rose sharply overnight, while the BDI figures have yet to be published.  
  • Reuters morning metal report - more 

  Reports

  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Morning Montra - pdf here
  • Metals & Energy - pdf here
  • Market Drivers - pdf here
  • Steel Founders' Society Of America December 2009 Casteel Reporter - pdf here
  • Association for Iron & Steel Technology Industry Stats - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metal prices are higher as of this writing despite the dollar holding relatively steady at 1.4650 against the Euro. A strong Chinese session, coupled with a narrowing Shanghai/LME arb, seems to be keeping the complex fairly buoyant. In this regard, the arb has narrowed from almost 700 a few days ago to 76 now, meaning that imports should theoretically flow more freely into China. However, with the Chinese having already imported massive amounts of metal so far this year, (with much of it ending up in stocks), we do not expect the latest contraction in the arb to trigger anything substantial. Market conditions should remain fairly quiet pending the release of the Fed policy statement out later. As we wrote in yesterday's commentary, markets will be scrutinizing the Fed's language to detect any sign the central bank is getting ready to sop up the massive liquidity it has injected into the system. At some point, it will have to do so, but before it does, it surely will give the markets warning through a subtle change in language. In the meantime, our short-term view on commodities remains unchanged; we would be wary about going long at current levels, particularly in the midst of a strong short-covering dollar rally that could extend through year-end, coupled with what we think could be another downtick in oil prices closer to the time of the OPEC meeting on the 22nd.... Nickel is at $17,310, up $310, and nearing short-term trading range resistance at $17,500. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) The global refined nickel market was in a 15,000-metric-ton deficit in January to October, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said Wednesday. The estimate includes substantial imports in China, some of which are being stockpiled and more than compensate for the deficit in the rest of the world, the WBMS said.
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp (Yusco) has announced to keep stainless export prices unchanged for the second half of December.  .... Following Yieh United Steel Corp’s remaining export offers, Tang Eng has also announced to keep its prices flat for the second half of December.
  • (Yieh)  According to the data, Japan’s stainless steel output was 267,731 tons in October, having increased by 6.8 percent compared to the 250,630 tons in Sept. Nickel-chrome stainless steel output hit the highest record with a total quantity of 135,905 tons.
  • Benguet may list gold, nickel units next year - more
  • China's ambitious plans are likely to drive the demand for industrial metals - more
  • (JMB) Stainless Cold Rolled Sheet Price Levels Off in Tokyo
  • Australia Issues Red Alert as Tropical Cyclone Approaches Coast  - more
  • Severe cyclone shuts small Australian iron ore mine - more

  Steel, Aluminum Shipments Dip in November - Although November shipments of steel and aluminum from U.S. and Canadian metals service centers declined from October, there are signs that the market may be stabilizing, the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute shows. - more

  POSCO opens new stainless steel plant - POSCO opened a new stainless steel continuous rolling and annealing plant in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, yesterday. The plant was opened in a ceremony attended by 70 officials from POSCO, including chief executive Chung Joon-yang, and other concerned companies. - more

  Weak demand further depresses European steel prices – MEPS - Prices for hot rolled and cold rolled coil fell slightly in northern Europe in this month. Seasonal factors exacerbated the already depressed market. End-user activity typically slows around the Christmas and New Year holidays and many market participants strive to achieve low inventory targets at the end of the calendar year. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • Steelworkers don't show for bargaining in Voisey's Bay: Vale Inco  - Negotiators for striking Steelworkers in Voisey's Bay, N.L., failed to show for a bargaining meeting Monday, Vale Inco said in a statement. - more
  • Is Sudbury Sustainable Episode on TV Ontario’s The Agenda – Stan Sudol - Yesterday, I had the pleasure of being invited onto TVO’s flagship current affairs program, The Agenda, hosted by Steve Paikin. www.tvo.org - more

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • Vale charts big plans for China - Brazilian mining company Vale SA has signed independent ore contracts with Chinese steel mills for fixed freight charges to further expand its presence in the mainland, ahead of next year's benchmark iron ore pricing negotiations. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Tuesday, December 15

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -minus 12 to 3,518. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Tankan Shows Japan's Recovery to Wane as Small Firms Face `Relentless' Gap  // Moody's Raises India's Local Debt Outlook to Positive on Economic Recovery // Asian Stocks Decline, Led by China's Developers; Australian Dollar Drops // Lloyd's of London, the `RBS of 15 Years Ago,' Has Lessons for U.K.'s Banks // Abu Dhabi May Demand Control After $10 Billion Lifeline to Sheikh Mohammed // German Investor Confidence Falls as Recovery Weakens, Greece Roils Markets // U.K. House Price Survey Gauge Reaches Three-Year High as Demand Increases // Airline Industry Widens 2010 Loss Forecast to $5.6 Billion as Crude Rises // Nowotny Signals No Reason for ECB to Increase Interest Rates in First Half // U.K. Inflation Rises More-Than-Forecast 1.9% to Fastest Pace in Six Months // European Stocks Are Unchanged; Greek Banks Decline as ArcelorMittal Rises // Wells Fargo to Raise $10.4 Billion in Share Sale, Pay Back U.S. Government // Best Buy Third-Quarter Profit of 53 Cents a Share Tops Analysts' Estimates // Citigroup Bailout Exit Clouded by $617 Billion of Assets at Citi Holdings // Retail Sales Rise in U.S. as Holiday Discounts Lure Last-Minute Shoppers // Factory Output in U.S. Expands More Than Estimated; Wholesale Prices Jump // Chrysler's Reorganization Plan Leaves U.S. Holding Bag for $4 Billion Loan
  • The US Dollar continues to trade much higher against the Euro today, by over 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude is trading 1-1/3% higher and back over the $70/barrel level. Gold is down 1/3 of 1%, while silver is slightly higher. Base metals ended the day mixed, and in the end, not much changed. Indicator charts show nickel was having trouble fighting the strengthening Dollar early, but after US reports were published that show US factory orders continue to gain and inflation is starting to show its teeth, nickel jumped over the $17,000 tonne level, before settling down near the end. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.70/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose slightly overnight, with totals just shy of the 146,000 tonne level. Sucden's day old nickel chart shows LME trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index is showing evidence of possibly going positive in the next few days, by only falling 12 points overnight to 3,518. In US reports industrial production rose for the fifth consecutive month in November, according to the Federal Reserve, while the Labor Department reported wholesale prices rose more than expected that same month. Core wholesale prices rose by 0.5%, its biggest gain in over a year. This put the threat of inflation back in the forefront of many traders minds, boosting interest in commodities, despite the tumbling Euro.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • The disaster of “Chimerica” – Can both sides be losers? - more
  • Is Obama Overstating Importance of Boosting Lending? - more
  • Commission Outlines Plan to Reduce Debt - more

  Fitch: Global Steel in Recovery but Ratings Remain Under Pressure for 2010 - Fitch Ratings expects to see demand for steel to recover from low levels at a modest pace over the next 12-18 months but not to reach peak levels in the medium term, according to its 'Worldwide Steel Outlook', issued today. Pricing should be constrained by excess capacity but raw material cost increases are expected to be passed through - more

  China's Crude Steel Output, Consumption to Hit Record High in 2009 - Boosted by the government's economic stimulus package, both crude steel output and consumption in China were expected to hit a record high in 2009, said Qi Xiangdong, vice secretary-general of China Iron and Steel Association (CISA). - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb lower, with all base metals lower in morning trading. The US Dollar is rallying, up nearly 8/10 of 1% against the Euro, putting a lot of pressure on commodities. NYMEX crude futures are up 7/10 of 1% and at $70/barrel. Gold is down 1.2% with silver off 1-1/2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower with China off 8/10 of 1%.European markets are lower this morning as German investor confidence falls for a third month, and US futures imply Wall Street could open lower. Nickel inventories were slightly higher overnight, with the BDI only dropping 12 points.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Copper prices ended higher on Monday, and there were good advances in the rest of the group although aluminum bucked the trend to close lower. It was a very quiet session overall, with the market focusing mainly on the dollar, which lost ground over the course of the day as it weakened to 1.4650 from 1.4600 against the Euro. This morning, the dollar has gained almost a full Euro from yesterday's low, and this time, it is having its more traditional impact on metals. Copper, zinc, and lead, have each lost about half of yesterday's gains, although there are more modest declines in the rest of the complex. We also suspect markets are nervous ahead of this morning's US industrial production number (expected at .5%), and more importantly in advance of the Fed policy statement due out tomorrow. Any tinkering with the Fed's policy wording, especially with respect to rates staying low for an "extended period of time" could have an extremely bullish impact on the dollar, and possibly lead to further declines in commodities. Price moves could also be exaggerated by the fact that volumes are quite thin at this time of year, best typified by today’s Shanghai session, where only 652 lots traded compared to about 2,000 lots on a more typical day. We remain cautious on metals as a group, and would refrain from initiating any long positions at least through the balance of the year, as we suspect the dollar rally could continue for a little while longer. In addition, energy prices are very weak ahead of the OPEC meeting next week, (down 10 days in a row), and could be another source of external pressure on metals, particularly if they break towards the mid-$60 target as we expect them to..... Nickel is at $16,780, down $120, but things are very quiet with only a $250 trading range in place. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (MNP) Mincor Resources’ confidence in locating more nickel resources at Kambalda is increasing with the company set to add another three rigs to its seven-strong fleet in the new year to continue its aggressive exploration program.
  • (Interfax) China produced 628.33 million tons of steel products during the first 11 months of 2009, up 17.42 percent year-on-year, according to figures released by Shanghai-based Mysteel Information on Dec. 15.
  • 'Classic inflationary set-up' to boost commodities - more

  IMFA / India Plans To Expand Capacity At Electric Power Plant And To Increase FeCr Production = To Strengthen Capacity At Power Plant To 140 MW, To Set Up Structure To Produce 275,000 Tons / Year Of FeCr - IMFA (Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Ltd.), a leading producer of ferro-alloys in India, held in last week a general meeting of shareholders in 2009 at New Delhi of India and, at this meeting, Mr. Subhrankant Panda, Managing Director of IMFA, said that the Company has planned to strengthen the facilities for an independent electric power generation plant and, at the same time, is scheduled to increase production of ferro-chrome to 275,000 tons per annum. - more

  Study cools nickel mine fever - Victory Nickel Inc.'s long-awaited economic study on the Minago property north of Grand Rapids estimates that total capital costs would be just shy of $600 million for construction of the concentrator and infrastructure to support a massive open pit mine with a lifespan of seven years. - more

  • Noront loses bid for Freewest  - The battle over Freewest Resources Canada Inc (and its rich chromite deposits in Northern Ontario has ended with Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. saying it is proceeding with its takeover offer after a rival hostile bid from Noront Resources Ltd. failed to garner sufficient shareholder support. - more

  EU flat products steel price drops for third straight month - Any settlements reached for the 2010 iron ore contracts are likely to be at a figure approaching 20 percent above the level agreed by many Asian and European steel mills in 2009. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending December 12, 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,547,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 64.9 percent. Production was 975,000 tons in the week ending December 12, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 40.9 percent. The current week production represents a 58.7 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending December 12, 2009 is up 1.9 percent from the previous week ending December 5, 2009 when production was 1,519,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 63.7 percent.

  • Abandoned US steel mill costly sign of changing times - For most of the past century, the Continental Steel mill loomed over the town of Kokomo, Indiana -- first as a sign of prosperity, then as a stark reminder of the rust belt's decline and the massive costs of environmental cleanup. - more

  Steel prices likely to rise in 2010 - Domestic steel prices are still expected to climb in 2010 in anticipation of a rise in raw material costs and on higher demand, an official of the China Iron and Steel Association said. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • Vale Inco accuses union of not wanting to negotiate after Steelworkers' representatives miss meeting - A news release sent out by the mining company Monday afternoon said negotiations were planned for the morning with a provincial conciliation officer, but the union representatives never showed. - more

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • Iron Ore Forecasts Raised by Macquarie, JPMorgan  - Forecasts for annual contract prices for iron ore, a $160 billion-a year-global market, were raised by Macquarie Group Ltd. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. after a surge in demand from China - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Monday, December 14

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 49 to 3,530. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Japan Tankan Sentiment Rises at Slower Pace as Yen's Gains Threaten Profit // Beijing Auto to Buy Technology From GM's Saab to Advance Own-Brand Models // Stocks, Futures Rebound as Abu Dhabi Bails Out Dubai; Oil Falls on Tankan // ECB'S Liikanen Says Markets Understand Exit From Stimulus, Rates Separate // France Will Tap Debt Market for $51 Billion Loan for Areva, Manufacturers  // Austria Takes Over Hypo Alpe-Adria in Second Bank Nationalization in Year //  // Treasury Two-Year Notes Losing Favor in Futures Market as Jobs Slump Eases // Fastest Food Inflation Since '08 Riots Means Milk Costs 39% More Next Year // S&P 500 Rallying 11% Is Forecast of Strategists Who Got It Right in 2009 // Exxon to Buy XTO Energy for $31 Billion in Bet U.S. Gas Demand Will Climb // Citigroup to Repay $20 Billion of TARP Cash, Last Big Bank to Exit Program // `Substantial' Bank Writedowns Needed to Spur Housing Rebound, Goodman Says
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the Dollar, by about 1/4 of 1%. NYMEX crude is trading even at the moment, just under $70/barrel. Gold is higher by a little over 1/2 of 1%, while silver is up over 8/10 of 1%. Base metals ended teh session mostly higher. Indicator charts show nickel spent the day in a slow steady climb, with no evident strength to any pullback threats. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.67/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses rose over 900 tonnes over the weekend and now sit over the 145,500 tonne level and less than 5500 tonnes shy of the all time record high from 1994. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel's recent switch to an uptrend (chart here), albeit weak. The Baltic Dry Index continues to slump, down 49 points to 3,530, its sixth consecutive slide. Dow Jones is reporting Vale is meeting with the Inco union officials today in Sudbury, for the first time since the strike began. The local paper, the Sudbury Star, which has followed this strike closely, has yet to confirm this report. Societe Generale is reportedly forecasting nickel will do better than other base metals in 2010, thanks to an expected increase in stainless steel production. Stainless steel producers hope the second part of that reasoning proves correct.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Brazilian mining company Vale SA   said it will meet with union representations from its Canada-based Voisey's Bay operation Monday for the first time since union members went on strike in July. Vale told Dow Jones Newswires it was using a local mediator.
  • (Dow Jones) Nickel should outperform other base metals in 2010 due to the expectation stainless steel production increases by 10% next year, says Societe Generale. Says that should result in a sizable increase in nickel demand as stainless steel producers are carrying very low nickel inventories at present.
  • (SDB) China will need more steel as its economy is in progress, Chen Dongqi, vice director of the Academy of Macroeconomic Research under the National Development and Reform Commission of China, the nation's macro-economy regulator under the State Council, the nation's cabinet, said at the Mysteel Annual Meeting in Shanghai on December 12.
  • Mittal to cut 10 000 jobs - report - more
  • There could be a trade war: Peter Fish - (quote) Well, I see nickel prices. In volume terms, I cannot say how much will come on stream. All I can say is that the nickel producers will increase their production next year partially because prices will increase and clearly demand is likely to increase particularly from the Chinese, so I see prices strengthening but I feel that the mines will restrict their supply somewhat to the market to try to get prices above the current levels, which are roundabout 16500 dollars. They will try to restrict output to try to get it back towards the 20,000 dollar mark, probably it will finish off for the year in the 18000 to 19000 the average across the year that’s the dollars prices worldwide in the next year, I mean it would partly as a result of restriction. - more
  • More-than-expected rise in steel prices likely - more
  • Drug money saved banks in global crisis, claims UN advisor - more
  • Ron Paul Explains Why He Can’t Vote for His Own Fed Audit - more
  • Comparing Presidents: Real GDP per capita Growth Rates and Changes in the Tax Burden - more
  • Interest Rates Are Low, but Banks Balk at Refinancing - more
  • Disaster and Denial  - more

  How Yabulu rose from the dust - ''The management team had three jobs: getting the plant into a position where it could run, participating in the BHP options study which amounted to little more than a closure plan and trying to sell the plant to anybody who would buy it.'' - more

  Century Peak unit gets foreign partner for nickel, chromite processing - A subsidiary of publicly listed Century Peak Metal Holdings Corp. will tie up with a foreign company to process ore from its Casiguran nickel project in southern Philippines. - more

 Tokyo Steel cuts prices again due to weak demand - Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co, Japan's biggest maker of construction steel, said it would cut the price of H-shaped steel, its mainstay product, to the lowest level in six years due to weak domestic demand. - more

  OECD Steel Committee worries about oversupply - As the global steel market gradually emerges from one of its worst downturns in decades, the organization of Economic Cooperation and Development's Steel Committee is concerned about "the growing imbalance between capacity and demand." - more

  Effects of lengthy Vale Inco strike felt throughout the North - With no talks scheduled and both sides firmly entrenched, the strike at Vale Inco’s Sudbury operations by the 3,100 members of United Steelworkers Local 6500 seems no closer to being resolved now than when it began, July 13. - more

  Reuters Eramet To Buy French Metals Recycling Company - French nickel and manganese group Eramet said on Friday it had agreed to acquire Valdi, a French company specialized in the processing and recycling of non-ferrous metals with sales of 25 million euros in 2008. - more

  Vale Inco starts activities in Yemen  - Vale Inco, the second largest mining company in the world, has started activities in Yemen, exploring copper and nickel. - more

  London Metal Exchange steel contract goes global - The convergence of steel billet prices around the world has prompted the London Metal Exchange to launch a global steel contract in April next year. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb higher, with all base metals trading higher. The US Dollar si trading nearly 2/10 of 1% lower against the Euro this morning. NYMEX crude futures are down over 1.1% and nearing the $69/barrel level. Gold is up 2/3 of 1% while silver is nearly 1/2 of 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up over 1%  as Abu Dhabi announced it would provide $10 billion to avert a default by Dubai’s Nakheel PJSC. European markets and US Futures are also higher on the news. Nickel inventories rose over the weekend, while the BDI slipped 49 points.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "The dollar surged to two-month highs on Friday, but many metals still gained ground over the course of the day, with copper closing slightly higher and aluminum hitting 14-month highs. In a further disconnect, the stronger dollar also failed to dislodge sugar and corn, both of which finished higher, although gold and oil were among the laggards and lost ground. The greenback is strengthening on perceptions of improving US economic activity such as Friday’s better-than-expected bounce in November US retail sales. This, in turn, is leading to talk that Q4 GDP could possibly come in as high as 4%. Moreover, we suspect that because of the unofficial “controlled peg” between the Chinese Yuan and the dollar, the bullish macro numbers we have been seeing out of China may be helping the dollar's cause as well. In this regard, it was reported that China's industrial output surged in November to its fastest pace since June 2007, while exports also rose slightly versus a year ago. Also relevant to copper, were reports that imports of unwrought copper and semi-finished products rose 10.3% in November from October, defying expectations for a flat to lower reading. (More detailed import breakdowns on all the metals will be provided later in the month). Despite the resiliency shown in metal prices this past week and the firmer tone we are seeing so far today (again, despite a steadier dollar that is now trading at 1.46 against the Euro), we have our doubts about the staying power of the current metals rally. For one thing, the increase in the month-over-month Chinese copper import data does not sit right given that domestic consumption remains sluggish, run rates at domestic smelters are declining, while inventories in both Shanghai and London continue to mount. This tells us that the import increases are likely being channeled into stocks as opposed to finding their way into consumption. Finally, with metals having pushed higher largely on the back of the weaker dollar over the past few months, we think much of the currency-related gains will eventually be rolled back. .. .. Nickel is at $16,810, up $205 and still very quiet, with prices trapped within a trading range.   (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. said Monday that it has bought an additional 8.5% stake in Nickel Asia Corp. of the Philippines for about $22 million, bringing its total stake in the nickel mining company to 25%.
  • (ET) Finnish stainless steel major Outokumpu on Sunday said it may revive its plan to invest around Rs 300 crore in India as the commerce ministry has decided not to levy anti-dumping duties on imports of certain products of the alloy steel. “The Indian commerce ministry, in its final recommendations on anti-dumping duty on stainless steel products, has excluded imports of certain grades and sizes of stainless steel items from the list. Thus, we may now look at reviving our plans to set up a service centre in the country,” Outokumpu vice-president for growth markets Kell Hansen said.
  • (WA) Mirabela Nickel, which last week began ramping up mining and plant operations at its Brazilian nickel project, has entered a trading halt pending a proposed capital raising. Mirabela announced last Tuesday that commissioning of its Santa Rita plant in Brazil had been successfully completed and it was on track to meet a production target of 4.6 million tonnes per annum by the second quarter of 2010.
  • (SSY) China’s crude imports fell 8.5% month-on-month in November to 4.19 mb/d, but remained 28.1% higher on the year, according to the latest data from China Customs.
  • Online Information Centre for Stainless Steel in Construction - more
  • Weekly Fundamental Outlook for Energies and Metals - more
  • Victory Nickel Announces Positive Feasibility Study for the Minago Open Pit - more
  • (CD) China's power consumption in November rose 27.63 percent year-on-year to 328.39 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), up for the sixth consecutive month since June, China's National Energy Administration (NEA) announced Monday.

  China main stainless steel mills reduced production - It is learned that Shanxi TISCO Stainless Steel-the largest stainless steel maker in China reduced production about 40,000 tons or 19% in November, while Baosteel intended to cut output by 30% in December. The reduction of both companies stemmed from the equipment overhaul rather than market factors. - more

  • China's crude steel output, consumption to hit record high in 2009 - Boosted by the government's economic stimulus package, both crude steel output and consumption in China were expected to hit a record high in 2009, said Qi Xiangdong, vice secretary-general of China Iron and Steel Association (CISA). - more

  Esperance prepared for Ravensthorpe - The port of Esperance has the capacity to handle the nickel export from the Ravensthorpe mine, West Australian Premier Colin Barnett said. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • Rio Tinto names new Asia iron ore negotiator - World No. 2 iron ore miner Rio Tinto Ltd/Plc has named a new chief iron ore negotiator as talks get underway over next year's prices and volumes. - more
  • China Holds Talks With Brazil on BHP, Rio Venture, Review Says - China’s steel industry has sent a delegation to Brazil to seek support for a campaign against the A$165 billion ($151 billion) BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group Pilbara venture, the Australian Financial Review said. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Friday, December 11

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 92 to 3,579. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Industrial Output Rises More Than Estimated as Recovery Strengthens // Emerging-Market Funds Resume March to Record Inflows; Stocks, Bonds Rally // Tankan Survey May Show Japan's Recovery Is `Slipping Into a Standstill' // Asia Stocks Rise as China Production Beats Estimates; Yen, Swaps Decline  // Sarkozy Plans Tax on Bankers' Bonuses, Saying France, U.K. `Show the Way' // Ireland, Like Wall Street, `Went Too Far' in Boom, Ambassador Rooney Says // European Stocks Gain for Second Day, Trimming Weekly Drop; BHP, ING Climb // Goldman Sachs Stock Bonus Plan to Defer Compensation Expenses for Future // Feinberg Caps Cash Salaries at $500,000 for Employees at Four TARP Firms // Most U.S. Stocks Rise as Retail Sales, Consumer Confidence Beat Estimates
  • The US Dollar is trading much stronger against the Euro today, up over 8;/10 of 1% and at 1.4612. NYMEX crude is now trading lower by 6/10 of 1% and at $70/barrel. Gold is down over 1% and silver is lower by nearly 1-2/3%. Base metals fared better than their counterparts today, nearly all ending on the high side regardless of the Dollar's strength. Indicator charts show nickel was choppy thru much of the session, until late, when it jumped over $300/tonne. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $7.53/lb , making up for yesterday's drop plus a few cents. Inventories of nickel rose by over 1000 tonnes overnight and now sit just under the 145,000 tonne level. Sucden's day old charts shows nickel moving in an uptrend  with yesterday's late drop (chart here). Inventories of LME nickel now sit around 6400 tonnes shy of their all time record high. The Baltic Dry Index fell 92 points to 3,579, a fifth consecutive day of declines. US retail sales for November came in higher than expected this morning, and U.S. consumer sentiment improved rose to 73.4. Another week in the bag, with only a few left for 2009. We hope each of you has a safe and relaxing weekend!!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • The Case for a V: Could 7% Growth Rates Return? - more
  • Paper Probes Fed Nightmare — Inflating Away U.S. Debt - more

  China's Steel Anti-Dumping Suit Is Attempt to Stem Tide of Western Complaints - Last night Beijing announced that there had been a preliminary decision affirming dumping and subsidies from American steel exports. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.10/lb higher, with most base metals higher on a lower Dollar and higher Chinese production figures. The US Dollar is trading lower against the Euro by nearly 2/10 of 1% at the moment, and at 1.4757. NYMEX crude futures are up 6/10 of 1% and just under $71/barrel. Gold is up over 7/10 of 1%, while silver is 6/10 of 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended the day higher, with Chinese slightly lower on strong industrial output numbers from China. European markets are higher this morning, as a slower decline in China exports numbers imply improving world demand, and US futures show Wall Street should open in a bullish mood. Nickel inventories rose sharply overnight, while BDI numbers have yet to be released. US retail sales data shows November retail sales rose 1.3%, better than expected, and could set the pace for Wall Street activity today.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning metals news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report this week
  • (SSY) China imported 51.1 Mt of iron ore in November, preliminary customs data indicate. Year-to-date shipments now total 566.1 Mt, up 38% year-on-year. Although November’s import total represents a slowing from the 2q-3q monthly average pace of 56.3 Mt, this has not resulted in a reduction in seaborne iron ore trade.
  • (Interfax) China's daily crude steel output reached an average of 1.58 million tons in November, a decrease from 1.67 million tons recorded in October, according to a report released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Dec. 11.
  • (AAR) The Association of American Railroads today reported that freight rail traffic showed improvement in the post Thanksgiving holiday week ending Dec. 5, 2009. U.S. railroads reported originating 284,177 carloads, down 5.4 percent compared with the same week in 2008 and down 13.3 percent from the same week in 2007.
  • Correction in commodities seen as "just a phase" - more
  • Commods investors go active, seek returns - BarCap - more
  • Freewest takeover battle heats up - more
  • China's industrial output up 19.2% in Nov - more

  Ferrochrome Prices to Fall Next Quarter, Hernic Says  - Hernic Ferrochrome Ltd., the fourth- largest ferrochrome producer, sees prices for the steelmaking raw material falling in the next quarter. - more

  China commodity hunger unsated; steel output slows - China's soaring industrial output translated into record demand for oil and record output of many metals and coal in November, but steel production suddenly slowed. - more

  Nation rolls out steel tax on US - China, the world's largest maker and consumer of steel products, fired back yesterday at the United States for its anti-dumping measures against Chinese steel exports, launching its own punitive taxes on steel from US as well as Russia. - more

  Rusina Mining and European Nickel open Acoje heap-leach trial pad and pilot plant in the Philippines - Rusina Mining NL and its joint venture partner European Nickel PLC jointly announced that the Acoje nickel heap leach trial pad and pilot plant was officially opened on December 9 2009 on Luzon Island in the Philippines. - more

  Jobs Dominate NE Minn. Mining Debate - Supporters of a proposed copper-nickel mining project on Minnesota's Iron Range are touting the jobs the $600 million PolyMet mine would create. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • The worst is over: Fuller - The sudden bust of the nickel industry -- sparked by the global economic collapse -- and a long strike at Vale Inco's Sudbury operations have taken a toll on the city's mining supply and services sector. - more

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • In China Vs Iron Ore Miners, Jan. 1 Isn’t Armageddon - In the saga of iron ore pricing, Jan. 1 has become a date of some importance – but isn’t actually the line in the sand that it’s been made out to be. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Thursday, December 10

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 120 to 3,671. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Australian Employers Add 31,200 Jobs, Six Times Estimates; Currency Gains // China Squeezes Property Speculators, Extends Stimulus for Consumer Sales // China Imposes Preliminary Duties of 25% on U.S., Russian Steel Imports // Yen, Dollar Fall as Aussie, Kiwi Rise on Job Gains, Interest Rate Outlook // Bank of England Sticks to $326 Billion Bond Purchase Plan; Rates Unchanged // Darling Forces U.K. Banks to Swallow `Poison Pill' of 50% Tax on Bonuses // Sarkozy Said to Consider Tax on Bank Bonuses, Following U.K. One-Time Levy // European Stocks Advance for First Time in Four Days, Led by Banks, Inditex // Wall Street Bankers Lose to Congressmen Among Americans Furious Over Pay // GM's Buick-GMC Chief Said to Leave Automaker Eight Days After Being Hired  // Trade Deficit in U.S. Probably Widened as Imports Grew Faster Than Exports // Foreclosure Filings in U.S. to Hit Record For Second Year With 3.9 Million  // Geithner Says Treasury Faces Long-Term Losses From Insurer AIG, Automakers // U.S. Household Net Worth Rises by $2.67 Trillion in Second Quarterly Gain // Japan's Cash-for-Clunkers Program Leaves Out Imports, U.S. Automakers Say // Stocks in U.S. Advance as Jobless, Trade Data Point to Economic Recovery
  • The US Dollar is now trading nearly 1/10 of 1% higher against the Euro, after the US trade deficit unexpectedly shrank. NYMEX crude, reacting the stronger Dollar, is now trading 6/10 of 1% lower and around $70.25/barrel. Gold is off nearly 1/4 of 1% while silver is down by nearly 1-1/10%. Base metals ended the day lower, thanks to a rising Dollar, which is trading near $1.47. Indicator charts show nickel followed the Euro today, higher in early trading, then falling sharply as the Euro fell. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.38/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses rose for an eleventh straight day, and now sit well over the 143,700 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickle's bounce yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index fell 120 points to 3,671, its third consecutive drop. In US reports today, the Commerce Department reported the trade deficit fell by 7.6% in October, thanks to a weaker Dollar and stronger exports. The Labor Department reported that first time claims rose by 17,000 to 474,000 for the week ending December 5th, while the four-week average of new filings fell for the 14th straight week to 473,750, its lowest reading in 14 months. The number of people claiming unemployment benefits of any kind in the week ending Nov. 21 rose by 417,000 to 10 million, using non seasonally adjusted numbers. Our "believe it or not" remark caused a few of our readers to write in their thoughts about the nickel market. While most were in agreement with our bewilderment, some took issue with our findings and some of their points should be brought up, so the reader can make their own decision. First, we want to thank those who wrote in and as our readership has grown, it has become more and more difficulty to reply on an individual basis. For this we apologize. Secondly, when listening to our observations, we do plead guilty to being somewhat biased. This site was started for stainless steel users, the largest single user of nickel, and therefore sometimes addresses issues from the perspective of the stainless steel user. We try to keep this bias in check, since we realize many of our most loyal readers are from the nickel industry, but we also remind our readers in our firm belief that opinions are like armpits - we all have a couple, they serve little purpose, and only the holder thinks there's smells better than everyone else's. Here are a few observations from various e-mails. The most widely held observation was the threat of another strike coming from Xstrata's Canadian operation. We agree, this is a legitimate concern for the supply picture, and their contract expires January 31st. Secondly, a writer from India stated that stocks of high purity nickel were low in comparison to the Russian nickel flooding LME warehouses (his statement, not ours). This writer felt the reason so much Russian nickel was flooding the market was the 5% Russian export duty that would start January 1st. If true, this writer makes a good point. It will be interesting to see if LME in-flows do slow in January, because  not only would that add weight to this reader's observation, it could potentially add pressure on Xstrata to successfully negotiate with its workers at Falconbridge. Lastly, the strike at Vale Inco was mentioned by a few readers, but the consensus seems to be that neither side has a gun to their head to settle, and that this strike may last a lot longer. We thank the readers for their observations, and their letters. We leave you with one thought that was not mentioned in any of the letters, but which we feel is a major guiding force to where nickel is traded at today. At what price does it become financially beneficial for the so called Chinese pig nickel to be produced. In our opinion, that is the million dollar question. Thanks again for the input.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel imports fell 3.2% in October from last month, and was down 14.4% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel exports fell 56.8% in  October from the previous month, but was up 73.8% from the previous year,  the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
  • (RTT) I n late October, analyst Mark Parr of brokerage KeyBanc Capital said he is concerned the rate of real economic recovery in North America is occurring too slowly relative to current market expectations. Potential for further declines in ferrous scrap prices over the next couple months is supported by the recent $30/tonne decline in export scrap pricing. Parr also noted that service center and end user re-stocking momentum may be hampered by continuing lack of credit availability. In the analyst's view, these issues put a premium on companies that are nimble, low-cost producers and those in place to support sporadic levels of demand as the recovery unfolds.
  • Colbert Looks at the Fed’s Naughty Parts - more
  • Emergency Jobless Insurance Claims Surge By Most Ever In Prior Week - more
  • Banking System "a Long Way from Healthy," Ken Rogoff Says - more

  Ferrochrome Seen Oversupplied on Output, African Rainbow Says - African Rainbow Minerals Ltd., owned by South Africa’s first black dollar-billionaire, expects an oversupply of ferrochrome because of increased output. - more

  China cracks down on inefficient steel plants to curb overcapacity - China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology plans to shut down steel plants with an annual capacity of less than 1 million tons of crude steel to tackle over-capacity in the steel industry, according to a draft policy released Thursday. - more

  When a Secret is Partly No Longer A Secret, What Can Be Done - Exposure to Nickel Powder Deemed Toxic; Some Plants Vented Dusting into Air at Midnight - more

  Magnetic separation for the mining industry - You wouldn’t think that magnets play an important role in the recycling, mining & quarrying industry, but they do. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.02/lb higher, with other base metals mixed and quiet. The Euro is trading slightly higher against the US Dollar, but off earlier highs. NYMEX crude futures are up 6/10 of 1% and over $71/barrel. Gold is down by nearly 3/10 of 1% and silver is off over nearly 1/4 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly lower, while China ended higher. European markets are higher this morning, while US futures show Wall Street should open in a good mood. Nickel inventories grew overnight, while the BDI fell 120 points.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  no report this week
  • (Yieh) Chinese stainless steel market and price kept stable recently, while with the increasing stock and comparatively slack demand, the market will be still under pressure before the end of this year. Market participants said that Chinese stainless steel market had begun to be stable and the price would probably enjoy a pick-up slightly.
  • (Interfax) Baoshan Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. (Baosteel), the Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed subsidiary of China's leading steelmaker, Baosteel Group, announced on Dec. 10 that it will raise ex-works prices for major steel products by between RMB 150 ($21.97) and RMB 600 ($87.88) per ton in January, an analyst told Interfax on Dec. 10.
  • (SG) The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics in a quarterly report said that nickel mine production in Australia fell in the quarter ended September 30th 2009 by 23% YoY to 40,000 tonnes.
  • (Dow Jones) Mwana Aims To Restart 6,000 Tons/Yr Nickel Output In Zimbabwe
  • (CM) China's crude steel output in November is estimated to have reached 521.84 million metric tons in the January-November period, according to a projection posted Wednesday by Custeel, an industry information provider backed by the China Iron and Steel Association. This would mean that China produced 49.37 million tons of crude steel in November, based on a Dow Jones Newswires calculation, if official October figures provided by the National Bureau of Statistics are subtracted from Custeel's cumulative November projection.
  • (AMM) ATI Allegheny Ludlum is increasing prices of its nickel-based alloys and specialty stainless steels, but market participants see little sign of an equivalent upturn in demand. - more
  • (SBB) China’s main stainless mills cutting production
  • (BT) Industrial demand for electricity is continuing to plunge in Britain, despite signs of an upturn in the nation’s economic fortunes, according to new government figures. Sales of electricity to factories, mines and other manufacturing sites fell by 11.3 per cent to 22.3 terawatt hours in the three months to September 30, down from 25.05 terawatt hours in the same period last year.
  • (BTS) The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) fell 1.2 percent in October from its September level, declining for the second consecutive month, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today .
  • Horizonte Minerals launches Tucuma nickel project in Brazil - more
  • (China Daily) State reveals 1st steps to lift economy - more

  China Nearly Doubled Nickel Exports In Oct. / 09 Compared To That In Sep. = Nickel Metal, Exported 20,000 Tons In Jan. - Oct. / 09 - According to the customs-statistics released in China, this country is in the direction to increase their export of nickel metal. - more

  • Two Major Markets Of China And LME Are Supposed To Strengthen Influence On Moly Price (Part 2) - Molybdenum oxide is listed on LME but belongs to one of small markets in parallel with cobalt to be listed on LME at the same time. - more

  'Cheaper' to buy BHP mine than build - First Quantum Minerals Ltd. believes it has a cost advantage over mining behemoth BHP Billiton PLC as it buys the much larger companies Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia. - more

  • $376m nickel mine sale to create 600 jobs - A Canadian mining company has come to the rescue of the mothballed Ravensthorpe nickel mine, earmarking more than $540 million to return the project to production within 18 months and rejuvenating nearby communities shattered by its shock closure in January. - more
  • Ravensthorpe nickel mine to restart after sale - Canadian-listed First Quantum says it is planning to sell nickel concentrate from BHP Billiton's mothballed Ravensthorpe operation to either Queensland billionaire Clive Palmer or Chinese buyers. - more

  China Imposes Duties on U.S., Russian Steel Imports  - China, the world’s largest steel consumer, will impose provisional duties on some U.S. and Russian imports following anti-dumping and subsidy investigations, escalating a trade spat started in September. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • China, Rio Tinto Reshuffle Iron Ore Price Negotiating Teams - Anglo-Australian iron ore miner Rio Tinto Ltd. (RIO.AU) and the world's biggest iron ore buyer, China, have both reshuffled responsibilities of their teams negotiating 2010 term prices, presenting both sides with an opportunity to make a new beginning after acrimonious and fruitless talks in the previous round. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, December 9

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 111 to 3,791. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Puts Squeeze on Property Speculators With Tougher Sales Tax Penalty // Japan's Economy Grew 1.3% Last Quarter, Less Than Initial Estimate of 4.8% // China Bank Regulator Said to Plan $1.2 Trillion Cap on New Loans in 2010 // Australia Interest Rates May Remain Unchanged as Exports, Lending Decline // Stocks Slump as Japan Growth Misses Estimates; Euro Drops on Greece Rating // Darling Vows to Continue U.K. Economic Stimulus Until Recovery Is Secured // Greek Finance Minister Papaconstantinou Says Absolutely No Risk of Default  // Spain's Outlook Cut to Negative as S&P Sees Risk of Downgrade in Two Years // Billionaire Soros Says Europe Wants to See London Finance Industry `Sink' // European Stocks Fall a Third Day; National Bank of Greece, Santander Drop // Geithner Extends $700 Billion TARP Bailout Program Until October of 2010 // Stocks in U.S. Fluctuate as Weaker Dollar Lifts Commodities; Newmont Rises
  • The US Dollar has strengthened against the Euro, now trading higher by less than 1/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude did not take kindly to the shirt in the Dollar, now trading nearly 2-1/2% lower and under $71/barrel. Gold was unhappy as well, down 6/10 of 1% at the moment, with silver off nearly 7/10 of 1%. Base metals ended mixed, the shift in the Dollar coming late in the London trading session. Indicator charts show nickel fared pretty well. compared to some of the others, with much of the day spent in a slow climb, then a spike, which the Dollar's shift erased. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.51/lb .  Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses rose to just under the 143,500 tonne level, while the Baltic Dry index slumped 111 points to 3,791. Sucden updated its day old nickel chart (chart here), showing strong support at $7.13/lb. BHP announced over night it had off loaded the $2.1 billion dollar Ravensthorpe project for $340 million dollars to First Quantam Minerals. Quantam is expected to spend at least another $150 million to start operations, and wants to be mining nickel by mid 2011. Norilsk Nickel announced today it wants to produce more nickel next year, while Xstrata advised its investors that is still on track to open the next mega mine New Caledonia's Koniambo, in 2012. Let's not forget the Santa Rita nickel mine started producing just last month, Goro is producing, albeit at about 1/10th of its capacity, and Vale's Voisey's Bay and Sudbury operations are on strike and could return to full production in days. And in the mean time - inventories continue to grow. Dow Jones reports that JP Morgan suggested the nickel market would be in surplus for another 3-4 years. Surplus?!! Doesn't the WBMS remind us monthly that we are barely out of a deficit market, or still in one, depending on what month they publish? It doesn't matter that we have nearly as much nickel stockpiled than we have ever had in history. It doesn't matter that those crafty Chinese have come up with a way to turn low grade ore, tossed in the past, into viable nickel. It doesn't matter that history of demand catching the industry off guard, which responds by over producing, which brings on a glut, is repeating itself as it always does, but no one wants to hear it. And why should they - that's old school fundamental gibberish. All that really matters these days is what traders around the world feel nickel is worth at any given time. And today, regardless of the news about more supply coming, with no evidence that demand is anything positive, the traders took the price higher. Go figure.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Reuters) Norilsk, which supplies about a fifth of the world's nickel, plans to take production of the metal back to a minimum 300,000 tonnes in 2010 after output declined to 285,000 tonnes this year due to repairs at its Harjavalta smelter in Finland.
  • (JOC) Freight shipments declined for the second consecutive month in October, as measured by a 1.2 percent drop in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s closely watched Freight Transportation Services Index. The slide brought the index to 94.5, down 10.5 percent from last October for the largest October-to-October decline in the 20 years for which the TSI is calculated, said DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The latest TSI is the lowest for October since 1996 when it was 88.8.
  • Calls For Protectionist Retaliation Against China Rise - more
  • BLS: Near Record Low Labor Turnover - more
  • Commodity prices and the Fed - more

  Norilsk Nickel CEO Says Output Curbed by Arctic Pollution Risk - OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of the metal, can’t raise output at its biggest and most efficient operation because of the risk of increased pollution, Chief Executive Officer Vladimir Strzhalkovsky said. - more

  Cliffs May Invest $800 Million on Freewest Purchase  - Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. may invest $800 million to develop “world-class” chromite deposits if the company wins its takeover battle for Freewest Resources Canada Inc., Chief Financial Officer Laurie Brlas said. - more

  In their latest quarterly reports to analysts and investors, mill and service center executives report some better-than-expected results, but slow progress toward recovery amid ongoing concerns about the fourth quarter. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb higher, with most base metals higher at the moment. The US Dollar is trading lower against the Euro, by 1/3 of 1%, helping commodities. NYMEX crude futures are up over 1% and just under $73.50/barrel.  Gold is higher this morning, up nearly 1-1/4%, with silver up over 1-1/3%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower with China down nearly 2%. European markets are flat at the moment, and US futures show Wall Street could open higher after yesterday's 1% fall. Nickel inventories grew yet again overnight, while the BDI fell 111 points. Big news of the morning is the sale of the mega mine Ravensthorpe, by BHP to First Quantam Minerals, with a planned start up in early 2011. Xstrata announced yesterday it is on track to open another mega nickel mine in 2012, Koniambo in New Caledonia.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  no report this week
  • (FT) Xstrata's plan to develop the huge Koniambo nickel project on the island of New Caledonia remains on track to be completed by 2012 within its budget of $3.85bn.
  • (Yieh) It is reported that Korea’s major steelmakers’ sales of stainless steel fell in November month-over-month. As reported, Posco, BNG Steel and Hyundai Steel’s stainless steel sales fell respectively to 51,500 tons, 18,600 tons and 7,000 tons in November.
  • (Interfax) The Chinese government plans to close steel mills and special steel mills that produced less than 1 million tons and 300,000 tons respectively in 2008, according to a report by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on Dec. 9.
  • (AAR) The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported that November freight rail carloadings were down 8.2 percent compared with the same month last year and down 17.4 percent compared with November of 2007. However, if Thanksgiving week were excluded, November would have been the highest volume month of the year for U.S. railroads.
  • Horizonte Minerals adds second nickel project in Brazil near Vale’s Onca Puma Nickel Mine - more

  First Quantum Buys BHP Mine, May Restart in 18 Months - First Quantum Minerals Ltd., a copper producer in Africa, agreed to buy BHP Billiton Ltd.’s shuttered Ravensthorpe nickel mine for $340 million and aims to restart operations as part of a plan to diversify production. - more

  • First Quantum CEO: Sees $5/Lb Nickel Cash Cost For Ravensthorpe - Canada's First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.T) said Wednesday that it's taking a conservative view on the output potential of Ravensthorpe nickel mine. - more

  Norilsk Nickel Sees '10 Nickel Output Slightly Higher - Russian miner OAO Norilsk Nickel expects nickel production to rise slightly next year, while output of copper is likely to fall by 5% from this year's level, the company's Chief Executive Officer Vladimir Strzhalkovsky said Wednesday. - more

  Could Nickel Replace Platinum as a Cheaper Catalyst in Fuel Cells? - Traditionally fuel cells have been produced using a platinum base for the catalyst. The platinum is placed into water to split hydrogen from oxygen, however, this process is expensive and platinum is rare. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • Challenge likely for Rio-BHP ore deal  - BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto may struggle to convince some world regulators to accept their $US116 billion ($126.9 billion) iron ore joint venture plans, analysts say. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Tuesday, December 8

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 132 to 3,902. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Japan Announces $81 Billion Stimulus as Recovery, Hatoyama's Approval Wane  // China's November Passenger Car Sales Surge 98%, Most in at Least 5 Years // IMF Raises South Korea Economic Growth Forecast to 4.5%, Cautions on Exit // Most Asian Stocks Decline on Bernanke, Japan Stimulus Plan; Pound Weakens // Greece's Rating Downgraded to BBB+ From A- by Fitch; Outlook Is Negative // German Industrial Production Unexpectedly Fell in October, Dropping 1.8% // European Stocks Drop for Second Day; National Bank of Greece, RBS Decline // Bernanke Signals Fed Will Keep Outlook for `Extended Period' of Low Rates // U.S., U.K. AAA Ratings May Be Tested as Finances Deteriorate, Moody's Says // Employers in U.S. Intend to Hire for First Time in a Year, Manpower Says // Manufacturers in U.S. Are More Optimistic Than Service Companies, ISM Says // Stocks in U.S. Retreat on Greek Debt Downgrade; Bank of America Declines
  • The US Dollar continues to trade higher against the Euro, up nearly 3/4 of 1% and at $1.4717. NYMEX crude is down 1.5% and under $73/barrel. Gold is down 9/10 of 1% while silver is lower by nearly 1.9%. Base metals ended the day mostly quiet, with only a few registering noticeable gains. Nickel was open of them, with indicator charts showing the falling Dollar adding pressure early, but as it slipped under $15,900 tonne (near its trading low point of last week), there was a sudden spurt of buying that took it positive. Considering the Dollar continued to strengthen throughout the day, this sudden buying should be looked at as more technical than anything. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.32/lb , breaking a three day stalemate. Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses broke thru the 143,000 tonne level overnight and now sit 8,118 tonne shy of the all time record high seen in 1994. The Baltic Dry Index fell 134 points to 3,902. Equity markets were lower today on what appeared on the surface, to be double talk from some world governments. While few would argue a recovery is taking place, the degree of and the stability of this recovery is being questioned by actions taken by government agencies and a new financial threat from Greece. Japan's announcement of a new $81 billion stimulus, followed by China's announcement it would not end its stimulus program in 2010, caused some to wonder just how confident these governments were in the recovery process. Even Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the economic recovery cheerleader, stated yesterday that while the recovery was taking place, he noted "The economy confronts some formidable headwinds that seem likely to keep the pace of expansion moderate." The International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs reported this morning that chain-store sales for the week ending December 5th rose 2.6% from the year-earlier period, and down 1/3% from the prior week. This followed yesterday/s announcement by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board that consumers borrowed less for a record ninth straight month in October. In Germany, industrial production fell in October, surprising many analysts. And reportedly, John Hussman, president of Hussman Econometrics Advisors and fund manager, stated last week that he felt there was a 80% chance the stock market will crash in 2010. Mr Hussman is apparently the Grinch who is trying to steal Christmas from Wall Street. In the good news column, Manpower's Employment Outlook Survey reported that employeers plan to do some hiring in the first quarter of 2010.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (JOC) Trucking bankruptcies are beginning to climb again, putting upward pressure on rates just as shippers prepare contracts for bidding in the first quarter of 2010. The number of motor carrier bankruptcies rose 8.6 percent from the second quarter to the third as 405 companies shut down, said investment banking firm Avondale Partners.
  • Corrosion: A Natural Process - more

  Xstrata to take $1.9 bln nickel impairment charge -  - Mining firm Xstrata said Tuesday that it will take a $1.9 billion impairment charge after tax in its 2009 financial statements in respect of its Australian, Norwegian and Canadian nickel assets. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.05/lb lower, with other base metals mixed in quiet trading. The US dollar is trading higher against the Euro, by over 4/10 of 1% and at $1.4764. NYMEX crude is down nearly 1-1/4% and at $73/barrel. Gold continues to fall, down nearly 9/10 of 1%, with silver off over 1-3/4%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off nearly 1-1/4%, after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's remarks the US recovery faced "formidable headwinds", the Japanese announced a $81 billion stimulus program, and China announced its stimulus would continue into 2010.  European markets are also lower this morning after German industrial production unexpectedly dropped in October, and US futures show Wall Street will open in a foul mood. Inventories of nickel rose overnight,  while the BDI fell for a second day.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  no report this week
  • (Yieh) According to the statistics from the customs, China exported 5,879 tons of nickel in October this year, up by 86.3 percent on September. During January and October this year, Chinese nickel exports totaled 20,483 tons, up by 369 percent compared to the same period last year.
  • (MNP) Western Areas has signed another contract with BHP Billiton Nickel West to sell an additional 2000 tonnes per annum of nickel in concentrate blended from Kagara’s Lounge Lizard ore.
  • (Interfax) China's crude steel demand will grow by 80 million tons in 2009, double the 40 million ton annual growth seen in 2008, due to the Chinese government's stimulus package, an analyst told Interfax on Dec. 8.
  • (JMB) NSSC Reduces Ni Series Cold Rolled Stainless by 5,000 Yen/t
  • (PD) People Daily reported that among the 70 steel mills under rectification in Liaoning province, 51 in the first ten day of November have been closed and 10 mandated to make up the environment protection procedures according to related regulations
  • (SSY) The number of Capesizes waiting to berth at coal and iron ore load ports in Australia in addition to iron ore ports in Brazil and China has risen this week to 134, the highest since late July, according to information from local sources. There are an estimated 48 Capesizes waiting to discharge at Chinese iron ore ports and 32 Capes waiting to load at Brazil’s iron ore terminals.
  • China to continue fiscal and monetary policies next year - more
  • Kaufman warns of commodities bubble - more
  • U.S. consumer borrowing falls again - more

  Two Major Markets Of China And LME Are Supposed To Strengthen Influence On Moly Price = Consumers Will Actually Utilize From 2011 Molybdenum Oxide Price To Be Quoted At LME - While the steel industry has shared nearly 60% of the whole demand for molybdenum, the purchases of molybdenum by steel companies had grasped an important key to influence on molybdenum prices in the past years. more (part 2 of article posted tomorrow)

  • Fujian Deshang Nickel enters China's stainless steel market - SMI GmbH has just completed an in depth study about the Chinese Stainless Steel market, by visiting around 50 integrated stainless steel producers. Some of the key results are shown below: - more

  Xstrata Sees $2.45 Billion Charge On Copper, Nickel Assets - Anglo-Swiss miner Xstrata PLC Tuesday said it was forced to revalue its nickel and some copper assets after closing or suspending high-cost operations, resulting in $2.45 billion in impairments. - more

  Western Areas boosts its BHP nickel contract - Western Areas has signed an additional offtake deal to provide an extra 2,000 metric tonnes of nickel concentrate to BHP Billiton Ltd from Kagara Ltd's Flying Fox mine. - more

  Fight over Ontario chromite resources resumes - The duel over who will control high-value chromite resources in the remote "Ring of Fire" area of Northwestern Ontario resumed Monday with Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. claiming Toronto's Noront Resources Ltd. overstated the value of its counterbid for Freewest Resources Canada Inc. last week. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending December 5, 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,519,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 63.7 percent. Production was 975,000 tons in the week ending December 5, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 40.9 percent. The current week production represents a 55.8 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending December 5, 2009 is up 1.4 percent from the previous week ending November 28, 2009 when production was 1,499,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 62.8 percent.

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • Bill would force feds to release Vale, Xstrata deals - Nickel Belt MP Claude Gravelle said Monday he will introduce a private member's bill to amend the Investment Canada Act to require that all promises by foreign companies given to the Canadian government be made public. - more
  • Vale Canada Nickel Miners Don’t Plan Strike End ‘Any Time Soon’ - Vale SA workers are set to extend a strike at a nickel mine in Canada after a five-month walkout that took about 10 percent of world supplies off the market and pushed up prices. - more

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Monday, December 7

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -minus 71 to 4,036. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Yen Gains After Plunge on U.S. Jobs Data, Boosting Oil; Asian Stocks Climb // Yen's Biggest Decline in Decade No Anomaly as Options Trades Fade on Bulls // Japan May Ban Manufacturers From Hiring Temporary Workers, Minister Says // Darling Weighs Levy on U.K. Bankers' Bonuses, Scrapping Tax Cut for Rich // Gold Can't Beat Interest-Bearing Checking Account 30 Years After Last Peak // German Factory Orders Unexpectedly Fell in October as Export Demand Waned // Daimler Forecasts `Significantly' Higher Deliveries in the Fourth Quarter // European Stocks Decline as National Bank of Greece, Siemens, Xstrata Drop // Treasury Is Said to Want to Link Sale of Citigroup Stake With TARP Payback // U.S. Says TARP Costs $200 Billion Less Than Forecast, Helping Cut Deficit // Options Signal Stock Peril in U.S. While Analysts Forecast 20% Profit Gain // Six Flags Noteholders Lose Bid to Reorganize Company as Managers Prevail  // Recession Makes New York Blackout of '03 Unlikely as Grid Investment Grows // U.S. Stocks Gain, Led by Health Insurers on Goldman Upgrade; Aetna Climbs
  • The Euro is now trading slightly higher against the US Dollar, at $1.4861. NYMEX crude is down 1-1/4% at %74.50/barrel. Gold is down over 3-1/2% as it corrects, or has peaked for this round, while silver is down 1-1/2%. Base metals ended the session quietly, as the Dollar's dip came too late in the session to help much. Indicator charts show nickel bucked the trend today, falling at the opening but climbing its way back to break even for the day, and bolstered by the Dollar, was actually higher in after marker trading. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day where it has for the last 3, at $7.26/lb . Considering the build up in inventory over the last few weeks, and the Dollar still higher than it was a week ago, nickel is showing some holding power. Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses rose by less than 100 tonnes over the weekend. The Baltic Dry Index fell 71 points to 4,036.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • China Commodities Weekly  - more
  • Weekly Commodity Price Report - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (MarketWatch) Bernanke: Vigorous economic snapback unlikely
  • 3rd Global Stainless/Special Steel Trade Summit in Dubai will address Global Steel Trade Dynamics - more
  • Aetna Forcing 600,000-Plus To Lose Coverage In Effort To Raise Profits - more
  • Doesn't Sound V-Shaped to Me - more
  • Number of Months after Peak Employment - graph here
  • Winners and Losers as the Dollar Falls - more

  LME says paid 3.7 mln euro interim dividend - The London Metal Exchange (LME) has paid an interim dividend totalling 3,741,000 euros ($5.57 million) to holders of ordinary shares in LME Holdings Limited, the Exchange said on Monday. - more

  Base metals to see downward trend - At a time when gold prices are relentlessly moving up, the overall trend in base metals—which usually follows gold—as largely been a mixed bag. While nickel prices are heading southwards, copper, zinc, aluminum and steel are looking up and firm. - more

  Duties imposed on Chinese steel after Canadian firms claim dumping - Canadian steel producers have applauded a preliminary decision by Ottawa to slap a duty on Chinese steel imports, but reaction to a similar move by the United States indicates Canadian-Chinese trade relations could suffer as a result.- more

  Chinese partner wants Jervois $1m returned - Resources junior Jervois Mining has been issued with a writ by the Chinese company with which it was to advance its NSW nickel laterite project, asking it to repay a $US1 million ($A1.1 million) advance. - more

  Gelinas aims to meet Agnelli - Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas has her sights set on meeting with Vale SA president and chief executive officer Roger Agnelli when she visits Brazil next week. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.03/lb and on the upswing, with other base metals mostly lower. The US Dollar is trading higher against the Euro, but about 1/2 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are down 3/4 of 1% and  $75/barrel. Gold is down 1-1/2% and silver is off over 2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended flat with China higher. European markets are lower this morning as German factory orders unexpectedly fell in October, and US futures show Wall Street may open lower on fears the Fed may raise interest rates next year. Nickel inventories rose slightly over the weekend,  while the BDI slipped.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  no report this week
  • Vijay L Bhambwani (India) - "Nickel has seen a marginal rally after a prolonged weakness and also an inside formation as last week's range was within the previous week's range. The Rs 800 level will be a crucial level to watch as a sustained trade above this hurdle will be needed if a sustainable upthrust is to be witnessed. The Rs 730 level will be a support to watch as a decline below this threshold will mean a return of the bears. Market internals indicate a 2% increase in turnover and a 9% decline in open interest."
  • Industrial Outlook: Manufacturing Rebound 'Hard-Pressed' to Maintain Pace - more

  China's Imports Of Raw Materials For Stainless Steel In Oct. / 09 Decreased To Half Of Those In Sep. = Accelerated To Reduce Production OF Stainless Steel And To Weaken Prices Of Raw Materials - According to the customs-statistics released in China, the quantities of raw materials for production of stainless steel imported by China in October of 2009 had decreased to nearly half of those in the previous month of September. - more

  Why Nobody Wants Nickel - The base complex has continued to move in a positive direction, with aluminium, copper, lead and zinc all achieving double-digit percentage gains since the beginning of October. Yet at the same time nickel has fallen 7%, which raises the question: does nickel really deserve its new found position as the pariah of the complex? - more

  Indonesia's Antam sees higher 2010 ferronickel sales - Indonesia's state-owned miner PT Aneka Tambang Tbk said on Monday that it sees ferronickel sales in 2010 rising nearly 60 percent after restarting its third ferronickel smelter. - more

  Regency Mines confident of nickel demand - Regency Mines made a pre-tax loss of 0.72m, up from 0.46m, in the year to June. - more

  Mines plead for government understanding - The mining industry in the Francistown periphery has pleaded with the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs to be more understanding when mines apply for work permits to hire expatriates. - more

  Elected officials strongly back PolyMet - All elected officials with a political stake in the PolyMet copper/nickel/precious metals project near Hoyt Lakes are unequivocal in their support for the venture, with the exception of Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken. His backing remains conditional. - more

  A supernova that's the first of its kind - An extraordinarily bright, long-lasting supernova named SN 2007bi, snagged in a search by a robotic telescope, turns out to be the first example of the kind of stars that first populated the universe. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • Sudbury-area MPP off to Brazil for talks on resolving Vale Inco strike - A Sudbury-area MPP will soon be heading to Brazil in an attempt to make headway on the five-month Vale Inco strike. - more

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • BHP, Rio seal iron ore joint venture agreement - Mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto on Saturday signed a $116 billion iron ore joint venture agreement to combine their Western Australian iron ore operations. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Friday, December 4

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 45 to  4,107.   (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Hatoyama Delays Japan's Stimulus Package Amid Coalition Rift Over Amount // Asian Stocks, Oil Retreat as U.S. Service Economy Slows; Korean Won Gains // Darling Said to Cut U.K. Bailout Costs by 80% to No More Than $17 Billion // Bundesbank Raises German 2010 Economic Growth Forecast to 1.6% From Zero // Corus Plans to Cut 1,700 Jobs, Idle Blast Furnace at Teesside Steel Plant // Trichet Clears Obstacles to Higher Rates as Emergency Stimulus Withdrawn // Stocks Surge After U.S. Unemployment Rate Drops; Randstad, Baloise Advance // Recession May Be Over, Too Soon to Cite a Precise Month, NBER's Hall Says // Dollar Rises Most Since June as Jobs Data Spur Bets on Fed Rate Increase // Citigroup Said to Need Treasury to Sell Stake Before TARP Can Be Repaid //
  • On news that the overall unemployment rate fell in the US, the US Dollar soared over 1% against the Euro. NYMEX crude is down 3/4 of 1% and remains under $76/barrel. Gold is off 2-3/4% while silver is nearly 1-1/2% lower. Base metals ended the day mixed, but mostly higher, bucking the soaring Dollar and grabbing a piece of the welcome economic news.  Indicator charts show nickel opened quietly and slightly lower this morning, but jumped nearly $400/tonne of the US employment news, before the Dollar added pressure it could not fight. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day the same as yesterday's close, at $7.26/lb , but was higher in after market trading. Inventories of nickel, which apparently mean diddly these days, rose by over 1300 tonnes overnight, and now rest over the 42,500 tonne level. Do traders realize how much nickel is NOT being mined these days with the strike at Sudbury and Voisey's Bay? And still we grow? Sucden's day old chart shows trading thru yesterday (chart). The Baltic Dry Index rose 45 points to 4,107. Employment in the US fell by 11,000 last month, its best showing since December of 2007's report of 120,000 jobs were added to the payroll. Still falling, but far less than analysts had forecast, and the overall rate slipped from 10.2% to an even 10%. (US report) Economists pay attention to this section "In November, the average workweek for production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 0.2 hour to 33.2 hours. The manufacturing workweek increased by 0.3 hour to 40.4 hours. Factory overtime rose by 0.1 hour to 3.4 hours. Since May, the manufacturing workweek has increased by 1.0 hour." Average workweek hours have been slipping and if this gain sticks in the coming months, it will be positive for the economy. Overtime hours also continue to increase and show that while employers are not hiring new workers yet, the pressure is growing for them to do so. The negative to the report reveals manufacturing and construction jobs continue to fall at a fast pace, while temporary positions and health care jobs grew. We leave you with a cute cartoon from JibJab called "The Elves of the Great Depression of 2009" - video here Have a restful and safe weekend!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (MB) Stainless steel scrap prices in Europe and the UK have continued to fall as buyers cut their orders and nickel prices sagged, market players said

  Mirabela May Build Nickel Smelter in Brazil, Official Says - Mirabela Nickel Ltd., an Australian miner, may build a smelter to process nickel ore from its Santa Rita mine in Brazil’s northeastern Bahia state and start underground mining, a state official said. - more

  Nickel to Replace Platinum as Hydrogen Catalyst - In a finding that could mean the age of electrical vehicles is almost upon us, scientists at the Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique, near Paris, France, managed to replace the expensive chemical element platinum as the main catalyst used in hydrogen production.- more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading flat (no change) with other base metals stalled, as the world awaits unemployment numbers from the US today.  The Euro is slightly higher against the US Dollar, up 1/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude futures are lower by 3/4 of 1% and under $76/barrel. Gold is 6/10 of 1% lower, and silver is down over 2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly lower, while China ended over 1% higher. European markets are lower this morning, with US futures slightly higher. Nickel inventories took another large leap overnight, while the BDI number has yet to be posted. Markets are awaiting US employment numbers to be released shortly.      
  • Reuters morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals closed slightly lower on Thursday, but not before hitting fresh highs in a number of complexes. A slight bounce in the dollar and sluggish macro data out of the US both combined to pressure prices lower by the close. In the latter respect, ISM services readings for November came in at 48.7, substantially less than the 51.5 expected. More alarmingly, with a sub-50 reading now in place, service activity is theoretically in contraction mode. As of this writing, we are seeing slight losses in metals and energy, with January WTI now at $75.70 and approaching critical trading range support at $75. The dollar is steady at 1.5060 against the Euro. US stocks are expected to open slightly higher, boosted by late news out yesterday that Bank of America successfully raised $19.3 billion in new securities in the biggest sale of stock by a public company since 2000.  ... Markets have also been jittery for much of the last two days ahead of the key nonfarm payroll data out later today where expectations are calling for 125,000 jobs being lost.  .... Nickel is at $16,025, up $20, and very quiet."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Japan exported 107,136 tons of stainless steel products in October, up by 2.7 percent from the previous month. During the month, stainless steel exports to Korea totaled 21,357 tons; China 19,524 tons; the US 5,031 tons; Taiwan 11,208 tons; and Thailand 10,678 tons
  • SMI - China - The stainless melt production will reach 11 million tonnes in 2009 (+30% compared to 2008) and the output of finished products will climb to 9.9 million tonnes. Out of this flat products will grow to 7.8 million tonnes (+37 %) and long products to 2.1 million tonnes (+10%). Not only the output of the major mills like TISCO or Baosteel increased, also many new companies are entering the market like Fujian Deshang Nickel, Shandong Taishan, Southwest Stainless or Shanxi Huanxinyuan, to name just a few...... The Chinese demand will grow by 15 % in 2009, which is significantly below the increase in production (+30 %). This resulted in heavy up-stocking of around 1 million tonnes throughout 2009. Thus, 2010 will be a challenging year in China. Stock levels are very high, 1.8 million tonnes of fresh melting capacity will come on stream and demand is expected to grow by less than 10 %. The capacity utilization will definitely drop in 2010.
  • (MBiz) An executive of Tang Eng, the second-largest stainless steel producer in Taiwan said that the company reduced production by 30% in November and it may cut output further in December with the weak demand.
  • (GC) Base metals on the Shanghai Futures Exchange took a breather Friday as participants awaited U.S. November non-farm payrolls data due later in the global day.
  • Developed world to power 2010 commodity surge - Greetham - more

  Aluminum, Worst Performing Metal, to Beat Nickel: Chart of Day - Aluminum, the worst performer on the London Metal Exchange in the past year, will outpace peers such as nickel next year, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc said. - more

  SAfrica's Hernic says may cut ferrochrome output - Hernic Ferrochrome, a unit of Mitsubishi Corporation, said on Thursday it may cut output early in 2010 if power utility Eskom implements a high tariff, and also on expected lower Chinese demand for the metal. - more

  Antam raises 2010 nickel sales targets on global recovery - State nickel producer PT Aneka Tambang revised upward its nickel sales target for next year as the predicted global economic recovery is expected to spur demand. - more

Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 30th November 2009 = In View Of Steeply Strengthened Ex. Rate Of Yen / US$, Theme Is To Contract Ferro-Alloys At Yen For Q1 / 10 - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 30th November of 2009 is as follows - more

  Baosteel may focus more on resources - Baosteel Group Corp's overseas expansion plans will focus on raw materials until a "clear" picture emerges about global steel demand, the chairman of China's largest steelmaker said. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Industry In Crisis - Nickel Mine Closures - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Thursday, December 3

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 144 to 4,062. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Pimco Says Investors Should Bet on Yuan After Dubai World Reminds of Risks // Japan Exporter Stocks Advance as Yen Weakens, U.S. Consumer Spending Grows // European Central Bank Holds Rate at Record Low 1% to Drive Economic Growth // Europe November Manufacturing, Services Grow at Fastest Pace in Two Years // Most European Shares Advance; PGS, Heineken Gain, Siemens Falls After Loss // U.S. Services Industries Unexpectedly Contract as Job Losses Curb Spending // Bernanke Defends Fed Policies in Senate, Vows `Careful' Exit From Stimulus // Stock Rally Stalls as U.S. Service Economy Shrinks; Treasury Bonds Decline
  • The Euro has lost some of its steam today, after the EC left rates unchanged, but is still trading 1/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude has faltered, and is now trading even at a tad over $76.50/barrel. Gold is now 1/10 of 1% lower, while silver is off more than 1%. Base metals all ended the session lower, with the  Euro's strength overshadowed by economic recovery concerns and ever growing inventories. Indicator charts show nickel stood little change from the outset, with the price falling throughout the day. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.26/lb . Inventories of nickel stores in LME approved warehouses rose again overnight, and now rest just shy of the 141,500 tonne level. All warehouse activity was limited to incoming stock, with no outbound shipments recorded. Sucden has been doing a good job updating its day old nickel trading chart (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index rose 144 points to jump back over the 4,000 level. US business reports out today were a mixed bag, but mostly negative. The sole bright spot was new jobless claims which fell for a fifth straight week, to a level not seen since September 2008. After two months out of contraction, the Institute for Supply Management's service sector index dropped back into the negative to 48.7 from 50.6 in October. Freddie Mac reported interest rates for fixed rate 30-year mortgage fell to its lowest in 38 years on weak demand and increasing foreclosures.  The Thomson Reuters same-store sales index rose 0.5 % for the month, well short of analysts expectations of a 2.1% increase. And the Labor Department lowered productivity figures for the second and third quarters, dropping the third quarter numbers from an earlier estimate of 9.5% to 8.1%. Back to nickel, Mirabela reports it starts production at its Brazilian mine tomorrow. More ore is definitely not what the nickel market wants to see right now, as stainless steel producers grow frustrated and bewildered about the price of nickel. Having witnessed the price grow from an average of $2.70/lb in 2001 (the year George W Bush became President and coalition forces entered Afghanistan) to well over $23/lb in May 2007, and back to a current trading range of $7-$9/lb, stainless steel producers would like to see fundamentals, the excuse shoved down their throats for the past increases, to start playing a part again. Finally, Goldman Sachs released a report today in which they stated "By 2010, we expect demand for all major base metals, with the exception of nickel, to recover to their pre-crisis highs reached in 2007." We will see.

  Reports

  AK Steel Announces January 2010 Surcharges for Electrical and Stainless Steels - AK Steel has advised its customers that a $155 per ton surcharge will be added to invoices for electrical steel products shipped in January 2010. - more

  Mirabela Nickel to Start Output at Brazil Mine, Economico Says - Mirabela Nickel Ltd., an Australian miner, will start production of about 140,000 metric tons of nickel concentrates a year at a mine in Brazil tomorrow, Brasil Economico said.- more

  Combating the cold: an affordable luxury - There’s nothing better than soaking in a hot bath or standing under the spray of a steaming shower now that the air has turned chillier. - more

  Russia Now: State reveals privatisation plans - The Russian government announced a list of the most attractive assets that it hopes to privatise next year, in a bid to improve the management of the enterprises and reduce the federal budget's deficit. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb lower, with all base metals trading lower. The US Dollar is trading 1/2 of 1% lower against the Euro, adding pressure on commodity traders. NYMEX crude futures are trading over 8/10 of 1%, and over $77/barrel. Gold is up over 1-/2%, trading in new record territory yet again, with silver up 2/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China slightly lower. European markets are higher, with the ECB leaving rates where they are. US futures are also higher on news Bank of America will repay the government their entire $45 billion TARP bailout. Nickel inventories climbed over the 141,000 tonne level overnight, and the BDI has yet to publish.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Four of the six LME base metals we follow rose to their highest levels in at least a year, if not more, on Wednesday as the incredible rally in the complex continues. The advance was particularly noteworthy in that it took place against a backdrop of sharply lower energy prices and a wobbly US stock market, not to mention the perennial backdrop of steadily rising LME stocks. Although the dollar was weaker, it was not down but much, and so we suspect pent-up buying interest in metals by both funds and index money is what was behind the firmer tone.  ... Nickel is at $16,145, down $155, and along with tin, still a relative laggard in the group.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (MB) An executive of Tang Eng, the second-largest stainless steel producer in Taiwan said that the company reduced production by 30% in November and it may cut output further in December with the weak demand.
  • (Rus) Average market price for rolled steel in November decreased compared with October by 0.5 %. .... “Stagnation” is the most appropriate word to describe the situation in global markets. The prices decreased slowly everywhere except China. However, by the end of the month the tendency for the growth appeared. In January significant increase of the prices is expected. In China the two-month term of the prices decrease turned to growth in November. But many specialists believe that this growth is not proved and expect new wave of decrease in the nearest future.
  • (RU) Eti Krom is resuming production of ferrochrome in Sweden
  • (JMB) LME nickel inventory/ Surpasses 140 thousand tons for 1st in 15 yrs
  • (JMB) Japan Stainless Steel Scrap Export Declines by 50% in October
  • (CD) China economy to grow 8.8% in 2010: UN report
  • Geithner: TARP to End Soon - more (quote - "But does it really matter when TARP ends? The government, first under Bush/Paulson, now under Obama/Geithner, has set a horrific precedent. Banks, Investment houses and speculators are well aware that the Federal government stands ready to intervene when the screw ups are large enough.")

  International Prices Of Chrome Ores Are Progressing To Weaken = MMTC / India Reduced Floor Prices For Exports By US$70 Per Ton - The international prices of chrome ores are progressing to weaken. In order to cope with a fall of prices for chrome ores in the international market, MMTC of India has reduced on an early part of last week their floor prices of chrome ores for exports by US$70 per ton for shipments in November - December of 2009. - more

  Dumping duty on some stainless steel eased - Mumbai: In a move that will help importers, the government has relaxed anti-dumping duty on cold-rolled stainless steel of types not manufactured in the country - more

  China says 16.9 mln T steel capacity must be shut by Feb 2010 - China has urged local governments to finish shedding 16.91 million tonnes of unsafe and outdated steel production capacity by the end of February, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Thursday. - more

  Chinese steel mills jockeying for Tonggang - Anshan Iron and Steel Group (Angang), one of China's largest steelmakers, is fighting it out with Shoudu Iron and Steel Group (Shougang) and Hunan Valin Iron and Steel Group to takeover northern China's Jilin Province-based Tonghua Iron and Steel Group (Tonggang), state media reported on Dec. 2. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • China 2009 iron ore imports seen at 600 mln T - China's imports of iron ore for the whole of 2009 are expected to reach 600 million tonnes, up by more than a third compared with last year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Thursday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Industry In Crisis - Nickel Mine Closures - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, December 2

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 82 to 3,918. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Mobius Picks Emaar, `Bombed-Out' U.A.E. Stocks to Rebound From Dubai Slump // Thailand Keeps Interest Rate at Five-Year Low to Boost Economic Recovery // Kamei Says Japan Should Seek International Intervention to Help Weaken Yen // Emerging-Market Stocks Rise for Third Day, Led by Qatar; Dollar, Yen Fall // Europe's Biggest Banks Grow Even Bigger, `Sowing the Seeds' of Next Crisis // Demand for ECB's Final Tender of 12-Month Loans Will Surge, Survey Shows // Nokia Predicts Unchanged 2010 Market Share as Mobile Industry Expands 10% // Darling Warns EU London Is New York's Only Rival as Global Financial Power // European Stocks Advance for Second Day; Commodity Producers Lead the Gains // Bernanke Backed by Bank Panel Senators After `Far From Perfect' First Term // Systemic-Risk Bill Approved by House Panel, Advancing Financial Overhaul // U.S. Company Job Cuts of 169,000 in November Exceed Expectations, ADP Says // Goldman Sees `Rather Strong' World Growth in 2010-11 as Credit Crisis Ends
  • The US Dollar is now trading higher against the Euro, by 1/4 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude is down 2-1/2% and under $76.50/barrel. Gold is up 1.1% and silver is up nearly 3./4 of 1%. Base metals all ended the day higher, although the Dollar's rise came late and late trading so most metals lower. Indicator charts today, were much like yesterday. A morning spike, led by a decline, an attempt at a rebound, then continues slide. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.39/lb , but after market trading saw nickel fall into the red. Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose overnight, but by a far less amount than the market has witnessed over the last three days. Totals now rest just shy of the 141,000 tonne mark. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel appears to be reversing its recent downtrend (chart here). After falling for eight straight sessions, the Baltic Dry Index rose 82 points to 3,918. The ADP employment report this morning showed private sector employeers cut more jobs than expected in November, at 169,000. MarketWatch reports "According to ADP, 7.4 million private-sector jobs have been lost since the recession began, in line with the 7.4 million lost in the Labor Department's estimate through October." The The Challenger Job-Cut Report stated the  count of layoff intentions slipped to 50,349 in November vs. October's 55,679. The same report had a bad sign in it - a lack of hiring intentions, totalling only 10,076 in the month vs. October's 57,520. And finally, the FDIC reported today that around 9 million households in the US  (7.7%) have no checking or savings account. Another 21 million households  (17.9%) with checking accounts are classified as "underbanked" (using payday loans or overdraft programs). So far the news has been rather negative today and Wall Street is slightly lower.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Economic Recovery? Commodity Charts Don't Think So - more
  • Philly Fed’s Plosser Calls for Rate Increases Sooner Rather Than Later - more
  • Bernanke Faces Friends, Foes at Senate Banking Thursday - more
  • Fed: We Will Pop Future Bubbles - more

  Antam’s $1.1b Nickel Investment Buried In Court as Miner Waits on Lawsuits - An estimated $1.1 billion in investment has been stalled as state-owned miner PT Aneka Tambang waits for the Supreme Court to decide on legal actions it filed against local governments in Southeast Sulawesi and North Maluku. - more

  Prices in chrome world market stabilized - According to minormetals.com, the prices in the chrome world market have stabilized. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.11/lb higher, with most base metals higher in quiet trading. The Euro is trading higher against the US Dollar this morning, but by less than 1/10 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are trading 2/3 of 1% lower and under $78/barrel. Gold continues to set new records, up nearly 1%, with silver up 2/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets closed higher, with China up 1%. European markets are slightly higher this morning, with US futures implying a slightly lower opening for Wall Street after the ADP reported this morning that private-sector firms in the U.S. eliminated 169,000 jobs in November. Nickel inventories grew again overnight, while the BDI reversed its recent trend and rose.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals pushed higher on Tuesday, as copper forged ahead, hitting 15-month highs in the process. A weaker dollar and fading worries about Dubai's debt problems were behind the price rise, as were robust manufacturing figures out of China and relatively decent macro data out of the US. In the latter regard, sales of previously owned homes unexpectedly rose in October according to a leading index, while US manufacturing-- as measured by the ISM-- expanded in November, albeit less than forecast.  ... This morning, the metals group is generally higher, recovering from early morning losses. The dollar is steady, trading at 1.5087 against the Euro, and drifting away from the key 1.50 mark that it had been holding onto rather successfully for much of November.  ... Nickel is at $16,600, up $350, and relatively quiet." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Frederic Lasserre, head of commodity research at Societe Generale - "The key drivers for the commodities rally have been fueled mainly by pure financial flows ... Investors have continued to pour fresh money into the space...recently, the main motivation has been more the search of a hedge against future inflation and a bearish U.S. dollar trend."
  • (JMB) Peaking Ni Stainless Cold Rolled Price in Tokyo
  • The World of China Inc. - more

  EU stainless steel enterprises plan to reduce output in early 2010 - Due to the rapid demand decline and gloomy market prospect in 2010, many large-scale stainless steelmills of European Union plan to cut down the production in the beginning of the new year. - more

  Deep Permeation Of Ni-Contained Pig Iron Into Market In China Puts Pressure On Stainless Scrap = Gap Between Domestic Price In Japan And Price For Export To China, To Influence On Scrap Price To Import - The prices of nickel-based stainless steel scrap (new clippings) to be purchased by stainless steel companies of Japan for deliveries in November from domestic sources have shown a certain unevenness by areas and a time-lag in comparison with those in October but a reduction of Yen 20,000 per ton from that in October as intended by major stainless steel companies has been currently normalized. - more

  India to levy anti-dumping tax on China's CR flat products of stainless steel -  It is learned from India Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s Anti-dumping Bureau that its final anti-dumping judge on cold rolled flat products of stainless steel to India from China, Japan, S. Korea, EU, South Africa, Taiwan-China, Thailand and US, advising that impose anti-dumping tax on China’s products involved in the case according to quantity. - more

  North American average carbon steel prices - Latest forecasts from MEPS - The MEPS - North American Average Flat Products transaction value decreased by over $US30 per tonne in November, reversing the previous upward price trend. - more

  Indian steel producers set to slash prices - Steel Authority of India (SAIL) has decided to slash prices of flat steel products sold in the spot market by up to 3% or Rs 800/tonne owing to mounting threat from low-priced imports. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Tuesday, December 1

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 51 to 3,836. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Manufacturing Grows at Faster Pace, Helping Asia Lead World Recovery // Bank of Japan to Provide Emergency Loans Amid Calls to Tackle Deflation // Australia Raises Interest Rates a Record Third Month as Economy Rebounds // Global Stocks Rally on BOJ Emergency Lending, China Economy; Yen Declines // Russia May Cut Bond Sale by $10 Billion on Higher Oil Price, Klepach Says // U.K. Manufacturing Index Unexpectedly Fell to 51.8 in November, CIPS Says // European Shares Jump Most in Four Months; HSBC, Alstom, Schneider Advance // Manufacturing in U.S. Expands a Fourth Month as Factories Propel Recovery // Ford November U.S. Vehicle Sales Are Little Changed as Economy Stabilizes // Summers Disputes Pimco's `New Normal' of Slow Growth, High Unemployment // Las Vegas Home Prices Fall 34% as Foreclosed Properties Make Up Sales Bulk // U.S. Stocks Gain on Chinese Manufacturing Growth, Dubai World's Debt Talks
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar, now up 2/3 of 1% and over the $1.51 level. NYMEX crude oil is up over 1-3/4% and over $78.50/barrel. Gold is up over 1-1/2% and nearing the $1200/ounce level,. while silver is up over 3-1/3%. Base metals ended mostly higher, except for nickel. Indicator charts show nickel headed higher at the opening, fell, tried to make another rally, but fell once again. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.37/lb . So why did nickel fall on a day when the Euro rose respectively? Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose at a staggering 3000+ tonnes overnight, placing the total well over the 140,500 tonne level. Inventories are getting to a point where even the fundamental pooh pooher's noticed today. We are now less than 11,000 tonnes shy of the all time record high in nickel inventory, of 151,254 tonnes, witnessed in 1994 after the collapse of the Soviet Union and cash strapped Russia flooded the market with nickel reserves. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index slipped for an eight straight session - down 51 points to 3,836. Our worldwide PMI page is updated (here) with US slipping, but remaining above the 50 mark. In other US reports today, the ICSC-Goldman reported retail sales were down 0.1% last week compared to the prior week, but 3.1% higher than the same week last year.  Redbok reported same store sales were 3.8% higher compared to the same week last year, but warn profit margins will be squeezed by aggressive markdown's. Construction spending was reportedly flat, while pending home sales jumped 3.7 percent in October.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (JMB) Japan Iron & Steel Federation reported to Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry that the steel industry's energy consumption was 2,159 peta joules and carbon dioxide emission from energy was 176.3 million tonnes in fiscal 2008 ended March 2009, which was 11.5% and 12.1% lower than the level in fiscal 1990.
  • Obama's 'predictably irrational' economic policies - more
  • In Wake of Dubai, Trying to Predict the Next Blowup - more
  • Bankruptcy, mortgage default, and foreclosure - more
  • Euro Zone Unemployment Stable In Oct - more
  • A Lost Decade for Private Sector Jobs - more
  • How Dubai crisis may alter markets - more
  • This Time is Different - more

  Traders positive to late stainless steel market, rebounding cycle may be prolonged - From the domestic stainless steel spot market this week, the rebounding trend is apparent. Price of CR 304 stainless steel boosted from 18,500 yuan per ton to 20,400 yuan per ton presently. - more

  Development of a New Mold Base Stainless Steel - Due to the intensive machining practices that must be performed on mold bases, if machining time and costs can be reduced, significant savings can be realized. - more

  URSA Major Minerals Intersects New Lens of High-Grade Massive Sulphides at Nickel Offsets Property, Sudbury - URSA Major Minerals Incorporated is pleased to announce that drilling at the past-producing Nickel Offsets Mine, located in Foy Township, 40 km northwest of Sudbury, Ontario has intersected a new lens of high-grade massive sulphides. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.05/lb lower, with other base metals mixed. The US Dollar is trading 4/10 of 1% higher against the Euro, assisting commodities. NYMEX crude futures are nearly 1% higher and at $78/barrel. Gold is up 1.1% this morning, in new record territory, while silver is 1.2% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended broadly higher, with China up 1.4% on news that China’s manufacturing grew last month at the fastest pace in five years. European markets are also trading higher, with US futures following suit. Inventories of nickel grew overnight at a "holy cow!" rate, and the BDI fell for an eighth straight day.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals are mostly higher, with copper hitting fresh 2009 highs earlier today and getting to $7041 at one point before retracing modestly as of this writing. It seems that last week's bombshell of Dubai World announcing a rescheduling of its debt seems to be fading, as negotiations have now started between the company and its major lenders. More importantly, although the Dubai government said it could not guarantee the company's debts, the UAE's central bank stated over the weekend that it would "stand behind" any troubled local institutions. The easing of concern here is allowing the usual bullish props to reassert themselves in most commodity markets. In the case of metals, the weaker dollar has much to do with the stronger tone we are seeing, as the greenback is now trading at 1.5070 against the Euro while sinking to a 14-year low against the yen.  ... Nickel is at $16,400, unchanged, and sitting out the general strengthening we are seeing elsewhere. There is a modest $350 trading range seen so far today." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Yesterday, Taiwan's stainless steel manufacturer, Tang Eng announced its new stainless steel prices for December. Surprisingly, the company lowered its domestic price by NT$1,000/ton, and cut export prices according to the different customers.
  • (HU) London: Further to the announcement on 20 October 2009, European Nickel PLC confirms that Endeavour Financial Corporation has agreed to negotiate rescheduling of the Bridge Loan Facility, as defined in the announcement of 27 July 2009, and that such negotiations are currently ongoing.
  • (CD) The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) of China's manufacturing sector stood at 55.2 percent in November, unchanged from the previous month, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said on Tuesday.
  • (SSY) The number of Capesizes waiting to berth at iron ore ports in Australia, Brazil and China as well as Australia’s coal ports decreased from 128 in mid-November (close to the Capesize market peak) to 111 this week, according to local sources. Some 42 Capesizes are currently queueing off China’s iron ore discharge terminals, compared with 46 in mid-November.

  Fox Resources returns to nickel and copper production - FOX Resources, which last year shut down its Pilbara nickel-copper mine, is now back in business.. - more

  China's Imports Of Chrome Ore In October 2009 Still Maintained High Level = Imported 857,000 Tons In October As Decreased By 9% From That In September - According to the customs-statistics released in China, the quantities of chrome ore imported by China in January - October of 2009 as well as in a single month of October were as per the table shown below. - more

  Protesters claim victory against Mindoro Nickel Project - With the temporary revocation of the environmental clearance certificate (ECC) for the Mindoro Nickel Project, protesters are celebrating partial victory against the operations of Intex Resources, even as they vowed to continue their opposition to all mining activities on the resource-rich island. - more

  Nickel and copper mine to open in Northern Finland - €400 million will be invested into the new mine near Sodankylä in Northern Finland. When the mine opens in 2012 some 200 people will be employed. - more

  Brazil's Vale Signs $300 Million Export Facility Agreement - Brazilian mining giant Vale SA said late Monday that it signed a $300 million export facility agreement, through its subsidiary PT International Nickel Indonesia Tbk, with Japanese financial institutions using credit insurance provided by Nippon Export and Investment Insurance. - more

   Courtesy AISI - In the week ending November 28, 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,499,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 62.8 percent. Production was 1,209,000 tons in the week ending November 28, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 50.7 percent. The current week production represents a 24.0 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending November 28, 2009 is down 2.7 percent from the previous week ending November 21, 2009 when production was 1,540,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 64.5 percent.

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

November Archives


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